Our National Gambling Helpline received more calls and online chats last year than any previous year on record as more people come forward to seek support for their gambling.
In 2023, 52,370 calls and online chats were made to our Helpline, a 24% increase compared to the year before, with August 2023 being the busiest month on record for our Helpline. December also saw a 39% increase compared to the same month the year before, the busiest Christmas period ever recorded.
Advisors on the Helpline noted an uptick in calls from people who had been concerned about someone else’s gambling throughout the holiday season, as well as numerous callers saying they struggled to watch television with their families due to the volume of gambling advertising.
We introduced a new WhatsApp channel for our Helpline in February 2023 to increase the number of ways for people to start their recovery from gambling. An additional 6,000 interactions were made through WhatsApp in 2023 to seek support related to the impact that gambling was having on them.
Additionally, almost 7,000 Gamban blocking software licenses were registered for free through TalkBanStop – a partnership between GamCare, Gamban and GAMSTOP – that offers free tools and support to help people control their gambling online.
Elsewhere, on 117 of those calls and online chats people disclosed to Advisors that their gambling was related to financial pressures caused from the cost-of-living crisis.
Samantha Turnton, Head of Remote Support Services at GamCare:
“We are used to seeing small increases in the volume of people contacting us each year. However, in 2023 there has been a landmark climb in people reaching out who want to start their recovery journey from gambling.
“While it is concerning to see the rising numbers who need help, we are encouraged that Advisors are reporting an increase in calls from people who reaching out at an earlier stage. This is an invaluable step to prevent gambling harm from escalating further down the line, and we encourage anyone to get in touch if they feel ready to discuss their relationship with it, no matter what stage they are at.
“We know how difficult it can be to open up about gambling for the first time and we’re here to listen. We want people to know we are here for you 24/7, we understand, and we can help.”
Anna Hargrave, Chief Commissioning & Strategy Officer at GambleAware:
“The increased number of calls to the helpline comes after the launch of the National Gambling Support Network last year, and clearly demonstrates the need for and importance of prevention and early intervention support services. These support services need to be prioritised within the new system once the statutory gambling levy is introduced, as we know that swift intervention is essential to help people in the early stages of experiencing gambling harm, before it becomes even more serious.”
“The Helpline and the National Gambling Support Network, through which 9 in 10 patients saw an improvement after completing treatment, are available to ensure people can access the help and support they need in their local community, wherever they are in Great Britain. If you’re worried about how gambling makes you feel, search GambleAware or contact the Helpline, available 24/7 on 0808 8020 133.”