GambleAware publishes new report on the lived experience of gambling and gambling harms among Minority communities in Great Britain

By | December 8, 2023
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GambleAware, the leading charity commissioning gambling harm prevention and treatment services in Great Britain, has published research focusing on the experiences of gambling harms among people from minority communities in Great Britain.

The study by Ipsos UK and ClearView Research, supported by the University of Manchester, has confirmed the role that stigma and discrimination can play not just in driving harms, but also in preventing people accessing help and support.

The report shows that people from Minority communities who have any kind of gambling problem.2 are 50% more likely to have experienced racism or discrimination in public, compared to those who do not have a gambling issue (48% vs. 32%). Some participants in the qualitative research described a link between their experiences of discrimination and racism, and susceptibility to gambling harms. These participants pointed to the role of racism and discrimination in exacerbating gambling behaviour, including feelings of social exclusion, reduced employment opportunities and heightened risk of mental health issues.

The report also shows that people from Minority backgrounds who gambled are three times more likely to say their gambling is a ‘coping mechanism’ to deal with challenges in their life, compared to White British people who gamble (18% vs. 6%).

Participants in the qualitative study also identified many barriers stopping them seeking support for their gambling, some of which were because they were members of a Minority community. People from Minority communities were less likely than people from the White British majority group to say they would feel comfortable talking to friends and family if they were worried about their gambling, and also less likely to say they would feel comfortable talking to a gambling support service provider or a healthcare provider.

There was also a relative lack of awareness in Minority communities of where gambling support was available, and some even had a lack of trust in healthcare providers and support services due to previous experiences of racism and discrimination they had faced when seeking healthcare.

Some participants in the study also said they felt they and others from Minority groups could be disproportionately influenced by gambling marketing and advertising. They noted that having limited understanding about the risks involved in gambling could have made them more susceptible to the gambling marketing and advertising they saw.

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms can affect anyone, but they can be more common and more damaging in communities that face social inequality – such as these minority groups. Fortunately, help is out there. The National Gambling Support Network offers confidential, tailored support for people from all backgrounds. It also does a lot of community outreach to raise awareness and increase early intervention, so that people from all backgrounds know where to turn and can get help before gambling problems turn into an addiction.”

Daniel Cameron, Research Director at Ipsos, said: “The findings from this study increase our knowledge of why people from Minority communities may experience gambling harm. The study shows that the unique experiences individuals from Minority communities face in their everyday lives can exacerbate the drivers of gambling behaviour and increase the likelihood of facing gambling harms.”

Wendy Knight, who has lived experience of gambling harm and took part in the study, said: “Looking back, I started gambling compulsively after having issues at work. During that period, I spent a lot of my time and money in casinos as gambling became my way of escaping.
Also, my parents came to the UK from the West Indies during the Windrush era. Since arrival our lives have been about struggling for money. I think that because of the lack of opportunities in disadvantaged communities gambling seems like one of the few ways we could ever get big money.
“When I started recovery, I found it isolating as there weren’t any other black people there. When I walked into the recovery room it was full of white men, but I stayed because I wanted to recover. Plus, I am used to being the only minority in the room.  
However, much more needs to be done to make people from minority backgrounds feel comfortable to go to recovery services for help.”

Dr Dharmi Kapadia, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Manchester commented: “This research study has shown that minoritised people facing difficult, and often traumatic, life circumstances such as financial hardship, racism and other forms of social exclusion are at risk of gambling harms. Worryingly, gambling help services are often not seen as trustworthy by minoritised people due to past discriminatory experiences of statutory services. Gambling support services need to work on increasing confidence amongst minoritised groups, including how they organise, advertise and deliver services.”

This latest research builds on a Minority Communities & Gambling Harms: Quantitative Report that GambleAware released in March.

GambleAware will also be opening a new funding programme in December 2023, building on the recommendations from this Minority communities research. A total of £4.3m will available to organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.
Anna Hargrave, GambleAware Chief Commissioning Officer, said: “Our new funding programme is a response to research which demonstrated that both women and people from minority ethnic and religious communities face additional burdens of gambling harm as well as barriers in accessing services which meet their needs. Through the fund we will aim to reduce the inequality of experience of gambling harm for women and people from minority religious and ethnic communities.”

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