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Problem gamblers faced many challenges during lockdown and these  are likely to intensify as the impact of the  pandemic tightens its grip.

News Release from Gordon Moody Association: 29 October  2020

That’s the clear assessment of gambling therapy charity Gordon Moody, reflecting on the latest  statistics from the National Gambling Treatment Service and the charity’s own quarter two data and trends.

Matthew Hickey chief executive of Gordon Moody Association said: “We have seen the growing need of more treatment capacity for problem gamblers and the need for radically new ways of working due to Covid and lockdown. 

“Society is in a fragile place anyway, and there are so many uncertainties in people’s mind at present, that it is no wonder that so many more are reaching out for help.

“Our data and trends shows the scale of the challenge and also shows that more people want help and want to talk about the issue. Unfortunately the second wave of Covid is very likely to intensify those trends and there will be an even greater need for treatment and support for problem gamblers in the months and years ahead.”

Reinforcing the main findings of the National Gambling Treatment Service report  the Gordon Moody data shows:

  • Helpline calls are on the increase
  • The severity of issues being presented is getting more challenging
  • There is a rise in women and people from a BAME background accessing their services – 15% of applicants for residential services are non-white British.
  • People in the 25-34 age range form the majority of those reaching out for help but the number of over-45s seeking help is on the increase
  • Lockdown has seen waiting lists for residential treatment go down and assessments of those urgently needing treatment has gone up, as capacity returns to levels closer to pre-lockdown
  • Online and phone outreach interactions are on the rise and services are still massively stretched

(See data in attached report)

Matthew Hickey added:

“It’s heartening to see how positively  and effectively many of the challenges of lockdown have been addressed by organisations like ourselves working to help problem gamblers,

“But we are also seeing a growing demand and a  massive need for more treatment capacity. We need increased support in addressing the big changes and challenges because of the Covid pandemic, and the need to constantly recalibrate how we operate.

“As well as the vital work being done by our charity and other organisations dealing with problem gambling and gambling addiction, there is a need for clear and strong public health messaging that helps support people and get them treatment if needed. It’s time to end the stigma of gambling as the hidden addiction in our society.

“We mustn’t ignore the lessons we are learning through the coronavirus pandemic and not lose sight of how things are changing.

“Now is a great opportunity to begin a national conversation about how to tackle gambling addiction. It’s something our organisation and others are hoping to get started in the near future.”

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 Ken Smith on 07840 168071 to arrange or email matthew.hickey@gordonmoody.org.uk

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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