GamStop and GamCare continue to report higher incidence of female gamblers at-risk and gambling addicts who register to self-exclude but never seek help from the national helpline afterwards.
Number of Female Gambling Addicts Increases
An estimated 55,000 women have now signed up for GamStop, the United Kingdom self-exclusion program that prevents consumers from accessing gambling websites nationally, a new data by the organization revealed.
GamCare reported a similar statistic, explaining that the number of men and women experiencing a gambling problem is growing two-fold during the pandemic, as more data becomes available, but only a fraction of all vulnerable consumers are seeking help.
In fact, only 1% of self-excluded individuals are reaching out to the National Gambling Helpline, a free assistance service designed to help at-risk individuals. This comes with a new report that has highlighted the problems of gambling, and specifically that the activity is associated with lower lifestyle and higher mortality.
Crossing the 50,000-threshold alone is a significant red flag, argues GamStop, an organization which has dedicated significant efforts in enforcing meaningful restrictions and helping vulnerable players.
Gambling Review at Time of Pandemic
With online gambling addiction arguably rising, the government is planning to introduce stricter measures that pertain to regulated gaming operations, including slot limits, arguably the biggest source of addiction.
After the country slapped FOBTs with a mandatory £2 limit in April 2019, a similar measure may now be enforced on online slots in a bid to address what lawmakers see as a growing issue. Commenting on the recent numbers, GamStop CEO Fiona Palmer said that the next priority of the organization would be to encourage at-risk players to contact the helpline, and added:
“50,000 female registrants is a significant number and we are pleased that they have found the GamStop self-exclusion scheme and that it is a useful practical tool to help with their gambling issues.”-GamStop CEO Fiona Palmer
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said that while men were traditional gamblers, it was women who now felt ashamed and experienced stigma asking for help to fight their addiction, something that must be changed Hemmings noted.
Overcoming Stigma When Looking for Help
According to her, GamCare and other organizations should seek to further remove barriers for women and make it so that they can access helplines and treatment services comfortably.
GamStop and GamCare have been working together to identify the demographic make-up of at-risk players. Specifically, the organizations want to focus on helping women who have self-excluded get the help they need. The pandemic has driven numbers higher among self-excluded female players, the organizations reported.
According to the National Gambling Treatment Service, the number of female patients needing help has increased by 25% by end of March 2020. There has also been an increase in addiction levels to online gambling, from 57% to 69%, according to the organization.
Experts, including problem gambling counselor Lisa Walker, have tried to explain that the stigma associated with “women non-gamblers” has been detrimental to their mental well-being and has stopped many from seeking aid.
As Walker puts it, women don’t feel confident enough to go to support groups as they fear they would be judged. GamStop and GamCare, in the meantime, have been putting in considerable effort to help change this and have recently teamed with GamBan, another advanced self-exclusion tool.