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Lockdown ‘perfect storm’ leads to massive growth in gambling crisis calls. Coronavirus lockdown has massively increased the number of people getting into difficulties through gambling

News Release from Gordon Moody Association: 5 June 2020

  • Charity facing extreme challenges with extraordinary trends developing in a matter of weeks
  • Female callers most significant growth area
  • More callers increasingly suicidal in outlook
  • Return of sports will bring added pressures and risk

Coronavirus lockdown has massively increased the number of people getting into difficulties through gambling according to the Gordon Moody Association.

The charity, which assists people with gambling addictions through residential treatment and support, has seen the number of people contacting their service increase eight-fold during the lockdown period so far.

Matthew Hickey, Chief Executive of Gordon Moody Association said of the figures: “We are very concerned at such a rapid and growing spike in people referring themselves to us for support in the past two months. Unfortunately, it’s perhaps a predictable impact of the lockdown where people either try to find means of escape or are desperate for a financial ‘windfall’ to face into the current economic uncertainties. The truth is that Covid-19 has created the perfect storm of boredom, financial constraint and isolation that has significantly increased the number of people experiencing serious issues related to gambling.

“Our organisation has a lot of expertise in tackling the problems people face in this area, but even in better times we face real challenges in the numbers we are dealing with. Those numbers are now rocketing upwards and we are seeing new trends of more females asking for support and more callers are at a higher risk of suicide.”

The charity has also seen trends of people staying online for longer, with online poker being a growing area and the intensive pressures of lockdown considerably changing the profile of people contacting them for advice and support.

The return of racing and football and other sport is  also a factor the charity believes could bring added pressures and risk.

Matthew Hickey added: “Lockdown has led to people feeling incredibly isolated and facing intense pressures which they want to escape from and regrettably addictive online gambling has become a growing problem and challenge as we are seeing. Unfortunately, for the majority of society a hidden addiction remains hidden until it’s too late in some cases.

“We are glad that people are reaching out to us and we want them to know we are and will be there for them. We are approaching our 50th anniversary year in 2021, and while we have built up considerable skills and expertise in that time, nothing has prepared us for the scale of the challenge we are now facing. 

“Although we are aware that there are a lot of calls on Government and local authorities for financial and other support at present, we feel a responsibility to highlight the need for extra awareness and support for people who are dealing with the current crisis and its isolation and economic impacts through problem gambling.”

Ends

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 495335 to arrange or email matthew.hickey@gordonmoody.org.uk 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/

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