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The number of women gambling in the UK and the number of women suffering from gambling addiction is at an all-time high.

News release from Gordon Moody Association: 9 December 2020

According to gambling therapy charity Gordon Moody Association – one of the premier treatment providers for women’s gambling issues – women gamblers and affected women are in urgent need of better quality and more extensive support and treatment.

The charity will be opening the first residential treatment centre for women gamblers in the UK, and the world, in 2021.
The centre – to be sited in the Midlands – will offer a unique safe environment that across a year will treat  up to 120 women  who are severely affected by gambling disorders on an annual basis. The women will come from all backgrounds and undergo a treatment programme that effectively recognises the wider issues surrounding the gambling.

The centre has received core funding through support from Halesowen-based business InTouch Games Limited, a leading developer of multiple brands in the mobile e-gaming sector.

Gordon Moody chief executive Matthew Hickey said: “Gambling is the hidden addiction and hidden further again within that is the story of women gamblers and women who are affected others. There is an absolutely urgent need to change this and the impact of Covid means this is a growing crisis that needs to be tackled with more expertise and resources.

“Gordon Moody Association has been addressing this  challenge for a number of years through its retreat and counselling programme, and we now have plans to expand our treatment capacity within the next year to help urgently deal with this growing challenge. But we feel this is just the beginning of what needs to be done and we will be arguing for much more capacity to be built and expert therapists to be trained in future.”

A spokesperson for InTouch Games Ltd said: “We are proud and honoured to be working in partnership with the Gordon Moody Association in the development of such a unique and ground-breaking project.  This is a financial investment in furthering the critical work carried out by Gordon Moody, but it’s also about investing in the safer gambling culture of our whole organisation and raising awareness of our staff, customers and partners about the potential impact of gambling on the lives of vulnerable women and the barriers to treatment that they experience.  

“Working with the talented and dedicated team at Gordon Moody is undoubtedly deepening our knowledge and appreciation of issues surrounding problem gambling which, in turn, drives our commitment to do everything we can to protect our customers from experiencing harm.”

Gordon Moody trustee Annika Lindberg, a Chartered Psychologist with 15 years’ clinical experience in the treatment of gambling addictions, added:

“The number of women gambling in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. The rise of online gambling and the targeting of women with gambling advertising has led to an increased uptake of gambling amongst women in the UK. 

“There is little doubt that women suffer even more from the stigma and shame surrounding gambling addiction. Treatment services have historically been geared towards dealing with the behaviours and causes we see in men. While there will be similarities, there are also distinct differences between the causes, symptoms and drivers of male and female gambling behaviour. 

“With the growing visibility of women reaching out for help, there is still work required to ensure that women get the right support, right treatment and right environment to deal with the range of complex issues that need to be tackled in helping them address their gambling disorder.”

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Notes for editors:

Current trends

Last year, across Gamcare, Gamble Aware and Gambling Therapy (as part of the National Gambling Treatment Service) 30% of helpline calls came from women, with 59% seeking help for another and 41% seeking help  for themselves. This equates to 9,000 women.

Last year saw an increase of more than 100,000 women going to our Gambling Therapy website, taking the total number of hits from women to more than one million. Of the total (one million-plus hits) ‘hits’, nearly 90,000 were from the UK.

This is a 76% increase from the  previous year.

The Gordon Moody women’s retreat and counselling programme received 160 applications for the 36 places available last year. Gordon Moody’s current programme for women runs three times a year with 12 participants at a time and provides  respite, counselling and working alongside others with lived experience to devise an effective programme of treatment that recognises the wider issues surrounding gambling disorder in women.

Jane Fahy from Gordon Moody said: “Women are uniquely skilled at keeping it all together while falling apart. And ‘falling apart’ can be whether it is them personally because of gambling addiction or dealing with the impact of it within a relationship or family situation.

And ‘keeping it all together’ can mean many women are reluctant to explore anything other than short-term interventions to help them personally, or shouldering more ‘everyday burdens’ to support a male family member.

“That can mean that some women just opt to ‘put a toe in the water’. The reality is, however, that many need more extensive and intensive residential therapy treatment in order to turn their lives around.”

The new approach

Last year Gordon Moody women’s retreat and counselling programme received 160 applications for the 36 places available. This programme runs three times a year with 12 participants at a time and provides  respite, counselling and working alongside others with lived experience to devise an effective programme of treatment that recognises the wider issues surrounding gambling disorder in women. 

The new residential centre will see service users engage with those with lived experience and using the latest research in a programme that effectively recognises the wider issues surrounding gambling disorder in women. 

The  new Gordon Moody programme will: 

  • Be inclusive of LGBT and BAME communities as well as other ethnic   and minority groups as UK  Gambling Commission evidences the prevalence of gambling-related harm to be higher among these groups.
  • Sett up a residential treatment centre that will initially cater for 24 women with disordered gambling on a yearly basis.
    Women from ethnic and minority groups will benefit by being able  to access support matched to their needs.
  • Friends and families of the affected gambler will also benefit through counselling and Gordon Moody aims to provide support for up to 120 women a year affected by another’s gambling.
  • All those working in the sector of problem gambling treatment will benefit from additional data and training that Gordon Moody will make available.

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For more information:

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 kenneth.smith@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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