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Women self-excluding from gambling in UK reaches 55,000

GamStop and GamCare continue to report more at-risk women and gambling addicts who register for self-exclusion but never later seek help from a national help line.

The number of women addicted to gambling is increasing

An estimated 55,000 women have signed up to GamStop , a UK self-exclusion scheme that prevents consumers from accessing gambling sites across the country, a new organisation has revealed.

GamCare reported a similar statistic, explaining that the number of men and women experiencing problem gambling doubles during a pandemic because more data is available, but only a fraction of all vulnerable consumers seek help.

In fact, only 1% of self-excluded individuals turn to the National Gambling Helpline , a free support service designed for at-risk individuals. This is accompanied by a new report highlighting the problems associated with gambling, specifically that the activity is associated with lower lifestyle and higher mortality .

Exceeding the 50000 threshold alone is a significant red flag, argues GamStop, an organization that has devoted significant efforts in enforcing meaningful restrictions and helping vulnerable players.

A review of gambling during a pandemic

As online gambling addiction is likely on the rise, the government plans to introduce stricter measures that address regulated gambling operations , including limits on slot machines , arguably the biggest source of addiction.

After the country imposed a mandatory £2 limit on FOBTs in April 2019. , a similar measure may now be enforced on online slots to tackle what lawmakers see as a growing problem. Commenting on the latest figures, GamStop CEO Fiona Palmer said the organisation's next priority will be to encourage at-risk players to contact the helpline and added:

"50,000 female registrants is a significant number and we are delighted that they have found GamStop's self-exclusion programme and that it is a useful practical tool to help tackle problem gambling."

-GamStop CEO Fiona Palmer

Anna Hemmings , CEO of GamCare, said that while men were traditional gamblers, women were shamed and experienced stigma when asking for help with their addiction, which needs to change, Hemmings noted.

Overcoming stigma to seek help

According to her, GamCare and other organizations should strive to further remove barriers for women and make it convenient for them to access hotlines and treatment services.

GamStop and GamCare are working together to determine the demographic makeup of at-risk gamers. In particular, the organizations want to focus on helping women who have been self-excluded get the help they need. The organizations reported that the pandemic has caused an increase in the number of self-excluded women.

According to National Gambling Treatment Service, the number of women in need of help has increased by 25% by the end of March 2020 . According to the organization, there was also an increase in online gambling addiction from 57% to 69%.

Experts, including problem gambling counsellor Lisa Walker , have tried to explain that the stigma attached to "non-gambling women" damages their psychological well-being and keeps many from seeking help.

As Walker put it, women don't feel confident enough to go to support groups because they fear being judged. Meanwhile, GamStop and GamCare have made a significant effort to change this, and recently partnered with GamBan , another advanced self-exclusion tool.

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