March 30, 2023 3 min read


The UK Cost-of-Living Crisis Magnifies the Country’s Gambling Harm Woes

A recent report by charity GamCare revealed that individuals suffering from gambling harm were significantly more susceptible to rising economic pressures

As the recent record-breaking William Hill fine once again brings gambling harm into the limelight, GamCare shared a detailed analysis revealing that not all is good in the island nation. The charity shared a recent YouGov survey outlining how price hikes and rising inflation sometimes forced individuals to gamble to afford necessities. Problem gamblers suffered the most, with many entering a devastating downward spiral.

Gambling Addicts Turn to Betting to Pay the Bills

GamCare is the UK’s leading information, advice, and support provider for individuals suffering from gambling harm. The organization operates the National Gambling Helpline and is a pivotal part of the country’s efforts to combat problem gaming. It also frequently shares updates on the progress of player protection measures in the gambling industry, along with advice to operators and lawmakers.

The charity’s most recent analysis examines the impact of the UK’s rising cost-of-living crisis on people struggling with gambling harm, and their conclusions are not optimistic. A YouGov survey showed that one in six (16%) problem gamblers were forced to visit public spaces to stay warm, compared to an average of 5% for the UK.

During the past 12 months, advisers have heard from callers who have been using betting shops as a warm bank.

GamCare cost-of-living crisis report

People struggling with gambling addiction scored substantially worse on several other metrics, sometimes struggling to afford essentials like food, washing clothes, or school uniforms for their children. More worryingly, many interviewed admitted to relying on gambling to make ends meet, only to exacerbate their losses. A concerning 42% believed that wagering would help improve their financial situation compared to only 7% of UK adults.

GamCare Seeks to Address Rising Challenges

Such dire reports once again highlight the UK’s ongoing trouble with gambling. The recent William Hill scandal demonstrated that the country’s Gambling Commission had failed to protect consumers from overspending. The operator allowed patrons to spend thousands of pounds in minutes without checks, failing to intervene on time and protect its customers from addiction.

GamCare warns that gambling isn’t a way to ease money worries and that most bettors lose more than they put in. The organization has already launched its new Money Guidance Service, helping problem gamblers get back on their feet through spending advice and establishing proper boundaries.

The charity hopes that its efforts will ease the burden on those most heavily impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and prevent them from turning to gambling as an easy solution. GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings was optimistic that the charity’s efforts would help bring about positive change and support people’s longer-term recovery from harm.

We hope with the launch of our Money Guidance Service that more people can… get a deeper understanding of how gambling could affect their finances going forward.

Anna Hemmings, GamCare CEO

Despite the organization’s laudable efforts, the UK’s problem gambling woes continue to intensify. A recent interview with GamCare development director Mike Kenward revealed that the public felt gambling businesses were not doing enough to mitigate harm. With self-regulation proving insufficient, the country’s regulator should step up its game and do its part to protect the public.

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.

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