My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Increasing Numbers Using GambleAware’s Self-Assessment Tools

(Adobe Stock)

Knowing when you have a problem with your gambling is so important. A self-assessment tool that has been introduced by GambleAware was launched in 2023. It’s now been accessed by over 100,000 users.

GambleAware is a charity that commissions both prevention and treatment services. Of the 100,000 plus individuals that have used the self-assessment tool, 28,000 had later sought further support for their problem gambling. This was via a trained advisor at the National Gambling Helpline.

When using the self-assessment tool, a series of statements are visible. The users must then decide how much each statement applies to the way in which they gamble on a scale of 1-10.

Recent figures have seen an increasing number of people going to the National Gambling Support Network to get help. The numbers that are now receiving early intervention support has increased by 20%.

Zoë Osmond is the CEO of GambleAware and has commented on the recently released figures. Her view is that they “underscore the critical role third-sector services play as part of a whole-system-approach to addressing gambling harms.”

A new system is due to be announced by the Conservative government. While waiting for that, the GambleAware CEO said that it is “imperative” that a “comprehensive prevention-led approach is prioritised.” This includes boosting the amount that is being invested into a number of services that help problem gamblers.

This includes education, public health campaigns, digital resources and free, confidential support. Doing so will allow them to offer “a tailored approach for all communities across Great Britain who need our support.”

More regulation of the gambling industry is on its way. Last year saw the long-awaited publication of a White Paper into gambling reform.

September 2024 will see the maximum stake limits for online slots being released. The new limits will be £2 for those aged under 25 and £5 for gamblers over that age. Especially for  new online casinos in the UK  and small betting companies that typically offer new customers even bonus codes and promotions, this reform could be dangerous.

It was in April 2023 that the self-assessment tool was introduced. It followed the launch of their ‘Let’s Open Up About Gambling Campaign.” That was part of their desire to see the barriers in getting support reduced. Tens of millions have accessed the campaign with over 50% then taking steps to prevent possible gambling harm.

The National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) has seen a rise of 24% in the number of calls they’ve received in the past year. That’s a record rise and shows that there is increasing demand for ways to help those struggling with how they gamble.

Training professionals in how to help those with problem gambling is a key task for GambleAware. They have now trained over 8,000 people to do so.

The charity has had to defend its record after the Good Law Project made a complaint to the Charity Commission. They claimed that GambleAware trustees have not been meeting their set aims of offering education enough gambling harm education.

The complaint stated that GambleAware have connections with the UK gambling industry and rely on them for funding so therefore issue biassed information. They state that the charity talks about gambling being “a problem for individuals” rather than “a problem with the industry.”

Zoë Osmond defended the complaint saying that GambleAware were “robustly independent” from the UK gambling industry and had long been calling for more regulation to be introduced. This is particularly concerning areas such as advertising and the introduction of a statutory funding system. The latter would have the task of holding “the gambling industry to account.”

Also called for in the complaint is a statutory inquiry into GambleAware. The Gambling Related Harm APPG held four years ago led to the Online Gambling Harm Inquiry being held. This came to the conclusion that GambleAware were not in a position to research some research, education and treatment functions. The GambleAware CEO says such claims are “baseless and highly damaging.”

Ben Howard is the chair of GambleAware’s Lived Experience Council. He has struggled with his gambling in the past and received help from the National Gambling Support Network that was commissioned by GambleAware.

He said that he knows “first-hand” how “essential and effective” the services offered are and that they help thousands of people every year. Mr Howard disputed the claim that their services are inadequate. He believes saying that is harmful and stigmatising for those needing support.

The Charity Commission say that they are “currently assessing the information available” and will decide if there is “a role for the Commission” in dealing with the complaint and it is ongoing