Dramatic changes in gambling addiction have been happening during lockdown as charity warns of bigger, more intense challenges to come.
News Release from Gordon Moody Association: 16 July 2020
Gambling profiles have been changing quite dramatically recently according to gambling therapy charity Gordon Moody Association.
And the charity warns that the impact of Covid 19 and lockdown has massively increased the intensity of the challenge they are facing.
The topline figures from their recently released quarter 1 (Q1) report shows that:
- The organisation’s outreach service increased from 30 interactions a month to 250 interactions per week during the quarter.
- That 45% of the hits to the organisation’s website were from female users
- The number of female users of the Gambling Therapy website saw an increase of nearly 100,000 year on year.
- The number of ‘affected others’ (family and friends) contacting the charity’s services also rose significantly.
- There was a marked increase in the severity of the issues callers to the Gambling Therapy helpline are presenting with.
- Themes of trauma, anxiety, isolation and depression have all been prevalent as has suicide ideation with 58 calls during the quarter. This reached a peak at the height of the lockdown with five calls in one day containing themes of suicide ideation.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Matthew Hickey the chief executive of Gordon Moody Association said:
“Gambling is often seen as the hidden addiction, but the facts and figures we pull together shows that the profile of gambling addicts is changing quite dramatically. The age of people affected is shifting also. We’re getting a lot of younger people calling in, and a lot more women too.
“We did feel that we were likely to experience a major storm because of the coronavirus crisis, and now we think that the reality is that these Q1 figures may yet be the first signs of the storm.
“Now that we’re moving into the second quarter of 2020, we’re definitely seeing an upsurge in numbers.”
Mr Hickey pointed out that there are huge anxieties developing among the people contacting them during lockdown – with anxiety levels and levels of depression noticeably up.
Rob Mabbett, Gordon Moody Association’s head of development and partnerships who authored the report said:
“While we should be cautious about drawing out long-term trends relating to gambling and the impact of lockdown and the coronavirus crisis, there are definitely big changes happening.
“The Gambling Therapy website, which is Gordon Moody’s international treatment site, saw its traffic fall by 23% but the number of referrals we are getting has increase five-fold.
“The meaningful interactions that we’re having – those where we’re having detailed conversations with people that need our support – has increased by 62%.
“And the intensity of the issues of those affected through problem gambling has gone up exponentially.
“People are coming to us with a lot more complexity in their issues. They’re calling us with not just gambling addictions, but other issues too such as substance addictions.
“The profile of the people that we’re seeing has also changed, with more young people and women reaching out to us. Another significant change is that 73% of our callers are online gamblers, with only four per cent being land-based gamblers. So while core volumes have gone down in some areas, they have also gone up in others.”
Matthew Hickey concluded: “What we try to understand and deal with is the root cause of why someone develops a gambling addiction. While these figures are concerning there is also a great opportunity here to learn and act on these figures.
“I think in the same way that ten to 15 years ago mental health became something people started to speak openly about, then I hope we can seize this opportunity to ensure that the stigma around gambling addiction – the hidden addiction – will disappear and people will feel that they can seek the help that they need and not hide away.”
Notes to editors:
Chief Executive Matthew Hickey and other staff from Gordon Moody Association are available for interview via Zoom, Skype or phone. Please phone 07545 495355 to arrange or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to arrange.
More about Gordon Moody Association:
- Gordon Moody Association is a registered charity founded in 1971 with nearly 50 years’ experience in providing residential support and treatment for people who are severely addicted to gambling. The organisation currently has two residential treatment centres, one in the West Midlands and the other on the Kent/London borders, as well as part-residential women and men specific programmes delivered in separate locations. It also provides specialist on-line support through its Gambling Therapy service and App.
- It provides the only residential facilities in the UK that are focused just on gambling (rather than dealing with a range of addictions).
- As a charity we are reliant on donations and grants for most of our services. The majority of our funding for treatment is currently provided by GambleAware, but we also receive donations from individuals and companies who want to support the work that we do.
- Our housing treatment services are generally provided free of charge, due to our funding. Small contributions towards the rent for the residential programmes will require contributions but they are mainly funded by welfare benefits.
Further information at https://www.gordonmoody.org.uk/