GamCare reports ‘highest ever’ contacts but treatment session number drops

GamCare records highest ever contacts as 2021/22 Annual Report published
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GamCare has published its 2021-22 Annual Report, reporting a number of notable statistics and trends for people seeking gambling-related assistance over the past year.

Significantly, GamCare recorded its highest ever number of contacts during the period, with over 42,000 calls and online chats representing a 5% increase year-on-year.

However, the number of people in treatment sessions was at 9,728 people, slightly down from the previous year.

Anna Hemmings, GamCare CEO, commented: “While 2021-22 has been characterised by continuing uncertainty, coming out of lockdown and the Gambling Act White Paper delayed further, what we’ve seen from our data is an increasing demand for GamCare’s services.

“In this context, our teams have demonstrated incredible resilience and agility, offering a more diverse range of support than ever before to support people with gambling harm.”

GamCare’s report also identified that many participants were experiencing financial trouble, with a substantial number of people stating that they had incurred debts as a result of problem gambling. 

Specifically, 62% of surveyed gamblers reported financial difficulties, 57% disclosed having built up debt due to gambling, and 46% of ‘affected others’ – such as relatives of problem gamblers – also reported financial difficulties.

Moreover, ‘financial difficulties’ were cited as a cause for gambling by 32% of the 7,500 service users who responded to this question, although ‘chasing losses’ was the biggest factor at 64%, followed by ‘escapism’ and ‘boredom’ at 33% each.

“Looking forward, with rising costs now impacting people, we know that many who rely on our service will be affected and are monitoring this closely,” added Hemmings.

“Last year almost one-third of people who contacted our helpline cited financial difficulties as the reason they initially chose to gamble.

“However, after their experiences of gambling, this figure jumps to three in four people who say they experience financial difficulties now as a result of it.

“We know that gambling should not be seen as a financial opportunity, we are here for anyone struggling with their gambling through the cost-of-living crisis.”

Earlier this year, GamCare launched its new ‘trained associate model’ to ensure that the best training is available for all stakeholders dealing with the treatment and support of problem gambling, regardless of national boundaries.