Ahead of ‘Blue Monday’ next week, we are highlighting the local support that is available across the East Midlands to anyone struggling with their own gambling, or that of loved ones. Local sporting clubs Northampton Saints Rugby Club and Kettering Town FC are supporting GamCare, which has helped almost 1,500 people in the region to tackle the emotional and physical side-effects associated with gambling and is free for those who need it.
We operate the National Gambling Helpline – a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline, that people can call for free practical advice, information and support around gambling. Anyone can call on 0808 8020 133 and speak to an advisor, or contact the Helpline on live chat through the GamCare website, where they can also be referred for free, confidential support sessions in the East Midlands region if they need it, online or in-person, in areas including Lincoln, Peterborough, Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton and more.
- More men in the East Midlands come forward and speak to local advisors about their gambling issues (73 per cent) compared with women (27 per cent).
- Over a quarter (27 per cent) of people seeking help across the region are aged 26 to 35 year olds, underlining how young adults can be susceptible to gambling-related harms within the East Midlands region.
- The most popular form of gambling, across Leicester, Nottingham, Northampton and Lincoln was online Casino slots, with online gambling for sports events being the most popular in Peterborough. 
Nicola O’Neill, an East Midlands based gambling-support provider from GamCare commented: “At GamCare, we know how hard this time of year can be for people struggling with their gambling, particularly as we approach ‘Blue Monday’. With more financial pressures off the back of Christmas, coupled with a longer gap between being paid wages, the challenges that many gamblers experience in January can have a significant emotional burden also. It’s important that people feel able to come forward and discuss these issues with people in their own area; we’re here, we’re local and we can help.”
Nicola added: “I have spoken with a wide variety of women and men in the local area, on the phone and face to face, who have been impacted by someone else’s gambling as well as those who have gambled directly. It’s important to help build people’s self-esteem and confidence after being affected by a gambling problem. We want to develop trust and understanding amongst the local people who call on us, and help more people come forward to get the support they need.”
Tim Percival, Director at Northampton Saints said: “Northampton Saints is pleased to be backing this campaign to raise awareness of GamCare and the work they do to help anyone struggling with a gambling addiction in the East Midlands. It is important people know where they can turn for help, should they need it.”
Research commissioned by GamCare amongst 1000 UK adults revealed that over six million Brits know someone with a gambling issue. Furthermore, a quarter of Brits (25 percent) admit to regretting a bet they have placed.
Five signs to look out for if you’re concerned about someone else’s gambling:
- Withdrawn – Not wanting to join in or losing interest in usual activities or hobbies like going out with friends or spending time with family can be one of the early warning signs that gambling could be harmful. Wanting to stay at home more frequently, needing to check their phone constantly to check the latest results as so much is riding on a bet.
- Changing mood – There could be noticeable changes to their mood and behaviour, including looking worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason.
- Sleeping problems – If someone is chasing losses and losing money they might not be sleeping. Anxiety or constant worrying can lead to people being up all hours. Continuing to gamble on their phone during the night could lead to sleep patterns being affected.
- Financial signs – Has money gone missing from bank accounts, or are they regularly short of money on a regular basis and are having to borrow money? There may also be more pressure to get loans out, chasing losses now not just to generate income.
- Lying – Are you noticing that this person is lying about what they’re doing with their time, or perhaps asking for money to cover bills that could be for gambling. This can be risky as they will feel very vulnerable at being found out and very low that they have let people down.
Gambling is also known as the ‘hidden addiction’, and quite often the signs are not clear.
 This is based on a survey of 115 clients within the period of 1st April to 30th September 2021, from across the East Midlands and Milton Keynes.