February 27, 2023 3 min read


Scottish Players Reluctant to Seek Problem Gambling Help

Gambling harm charity GambleAware received feedback on its Gambling Support Service (GSS) program, identifying stigma as a substantial barrier preventing people from seeking help

The UK-based organization partnered with Citizens Advice Scotland, the region’s largest independent advice network, to train thousands of professionals on recognizing signs of gambling harm. GambleAware’s recent findings during the process showcased that public understanding regarding the issue was still lacking, and individuals seeking support needed to overcome personal and social barriers.

Stigma Remains an Ongoing Problem

The Gambling Support Service project aims to help frontline workers identify and address gambling harm. GambleAware has trained over 2,000 professionals across Scotland, including local authority staff, police, paramedics, and various charities. Although trainees reported a 97% satisfaction rate, an independent evaluation by advisory company Kantar Public identified gambling-related stigma as an ongoing problem for GambleAware’s efforts.

The training and… tools provided were key to preparing frontline workers to have conversations with clients about gambling.

Anna Hargrave, Chief Commissioning Officer at GambleAware 

The evaluation revealed a degree of hesitancy among advisors regarding discussing gambling harm-related issues with their clients. Their feedback confirmed that the general public still lacked sufficient understanding of the dangers of problem gambling and could ostracize individuals suffering gambling harm, preventing them from seeking assistance.

GambleAware Will Implement New Training Practices

GambleAware has taken the observed shortcomings to heart and acknowledged the areas it could improve. The updated frontline worker training practices will emphasize the extensive harm posed by problem gambling and teach advisors how to identify such issues through flexible and seamless conversation. The perceived uncomfortable conversations will also receive increased attention, hopefully helping reduce stigma.

Clearer guidance and an increased flexibility around questions should help frontline workers in identifying harms… and reduce stigma going forward.

Anna Hargrave, Chief Commissioning Officer at GambleAware 

Despite the observed setbacks, trainees believed that the Gambling Support Service significantly helped reduce gambling harm in Scotland, aiding frontline workers in delivering better advice. Citizens Advice CEO Derek Mitchell noted that the organization focused on providing quick, adequate support without judging client circumstances or background.

The earlier someone gets the support they need, the faster they can deal with the problem. People shouldn’t be embarrassed… about seeking help, it is the first step to solving their issues.

Derek Mitchell, CEO of Citizens Advice

In 2022 Citizens Advice Scotland and GambleAware renewed the GSS program for three more years, vowing to learn from their experience and mitigate the effects of stigma. Thanks to the updated education, frontline workers can more effectively direct clients suffering from gambling harm to relevant support organizations, help them download gambling website blocking apps, and choose the best solution for each individual.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *