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Angel Hristov February 16, 2023 3 min read
GamCare: Referral Pathways Needed to Address Gambling Debts
GamCare has vowed to work with organizations that offer regulated and free debt advice
GamCare published its latest recommendations for addressing gambling-related debt. During a recent workshop, the British charity called for better referral pathways between sectors.
GamCare Believes Better Referral Pathways Are Needed
The GamCare’s workshop used data from the National Gambling Treatment Service, according to which six in ten problem gamblers have outstanding debts. Furthermore, two percent of people in treatment are either bankrupt or in an Individual Voluntary Arrangement.
According to GamCare, these debts can amplify gambling harm, which is why it is important for gambling support sectors and consumer credit firms to address the problem. GamCare’s workshop was attended by representatives from various firms and organizations, including Bristol University, Lloyds Banking Group, Citizens Advice, PayPlan and StepChange, as well as people who have experienced harm.
One of the key themes of the workshop was for the gambling support and treatment services and debt advice sector to build reciprocal referral pathways. This, experts believe, would allow debt and harm to be addressed simultaneously.
GamCare has, therefore, started to build partnerships with organizations that offer regulated and free debt advice. Thanks to this, its treatment workers can join forces with PayPlan and provide gamblers in treatment with the specialist advice they need.
Some Problem Gamblers Cannot Deal with Debt
GamCare noted that quite a few of its clients have been unable to deal with their debts. This was echoed by lived experience participants who said that debt repayment may sometimes be impossible for active gamblers.
Lias, a debt adviser with lived experience of gambling harm, confirmed this to be the case. Lias added that signposting to various tools doesn’t always work, which is why the sector should get better at talking to clients about their gambling.
According to many lived experience participants, gambling support might be needed to help gamblers in treatment deal with their outstanding debts.
GamCare Will Work with Various Other Organizations
Citizens Advice added that gambling debts can evolve into housing and relationship issues. Because of that, its “Action on Gambling Harm” program seeks to provide better support to victims of gambling harm. Action on Gambling Harm is funded by GambleAware and trains staff to recognize, understand and address problem gambling.
Katie Fry, Citizens Advice’s project development manager, said that her company can now refer people directly to GamCare, ensuring they get the right support.
Another organization that will work with GamCare is PayPlan. Its vulnerable client lead Emma Gibbons said that the partnership will see its specialist advice team with the charity provide clients with confidential help tailored to their needs.