GamCare, UK’s leading provider of support for individuals affected by problem gambling, which runs the 24-hour National Gambling Helpline, has disclosed the findings of a new COVID-19 lockdown report.
The newly published report indicates that even though the lockdown increased prevailing anxieties around isolation among players and financial worries, the ability for the gamblers to seek assistance was restricted because many of them struggled with privacy concerns.
Thus, due to the privacy concerns, problem gamblers resorted more to getting assistance via the Helpline’s live chat service rather than making phone calls as the live chat channel guaranteed users more privacy in case their families or housemates were near them. Usually, most of the problem gamblers who reach out for assistance via the Helpline do so before discussing their affliction with their close friends or family as they prefer getting help with how to introduce the subject first before coming clean.
Other developments from GamCare’s frontline and Helpline Services between March and August 2020 included:
- There was an increase in player engagement with online group chatrooms, and the key subjects of the conversations was COVID in conjunction with other topics related to gambling.
- Staff operating the Helpline services noticed intensified concerns of domestic abuse experienced by players who sought assistance.
- At the beginning of the lockdown, more gamblers were asking for their removal from GamCare’s online self-exclusion tool: GAMSTOP. The data showed that callers wanted to gamble again, but this tendency has since subsided.
- The number of people starting treatment had reduced compared to the same time last year.
On top of that, based on a Gambling Commission Research that was published together with the GamCare report, gambling has been generally reduced nationwide. However, there has been a general rise in the time and money spent on gambling activities by avid gamblers and players between 18-34 years and the use of online gambling products that they hadn’t tried before. Additionally, a YouGov study carried out on behalf of GambleAware revealed that 52% of those who gambled more said that they were only getting rid of boredom as a reason to gamble.