GambleAware Research Finds People from West Midlands up to 25% More Likely to Experience Gambling Harm Compared to National Average

By | March 8, 2024
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A recent research conducted by GambleAware has shed light on the West Midlands region, revealing that it faces a higher risk of problem gambling compared to the rest of the country.

GambleAware’s latest report highlights the West Midlands as the region most exposed to gambling harms. According to the research, approximately 168,000 adults in the West Midlands, equivalent to 3.9% of the local population, are experiencing problem gambling. This figure is 25% higher than the national average, indicating a significant concern within the region.

The data serves as a wake-up call, emphasising the urgent need for proactive measures and support systems to address problem gambling in the West Midlands. By shining a light on this issue, GambleAware aims to encourage public discourse and reduce the stigma associated with problem gambling.

Stigma plays a significant role in preventing individuals from seeking help for problem gambling. GambleAware’s research reveals that 75% of those experiencing problem gambling do not feel comfortable discussing their struggles with family and friends. Moreover, feedback suggests that three in five individuals often choose not to engage with those facing gambling harms due to the associated stigma.

Dr. Joanne Lloyd, an Associate Professor and gambling harms expert at the University of Wolverhampton, emphasises the impact of stigma on seeking treatment. She states, “Stigma is a massive issue in relation to gambling harms as it is one of the biggest barriers to people seeking treatment.” Dr. Lloyd underscores the importance of understanding and addressing stigma to facilitate individuals’ access to the help they need.

Recognising the significance of stigma in preventing individuals from seeking support, GambleAware has launched a comprehensive stigma campaign. This campaign aims to encourage people to open up about their experiences with gambling and to seek the free help and support available.

The initiative has garnered support from various stakeholders, including Andrew Rhodes, the Chief Executive Officer of the UK Gambling Commission. He commends the GambleAware stigma campaign, stating, “Acknowledging the courage it takes to initiate conversations about gambling, any efforts to dismantle barriers to addressing gambling harms are truly appreciated.”

GambleAware emphasises the importance of ensuring that individuals impacted by problem gambling in the West Midlands and across Great Britain are aware of the wide range of support services available to them. By increasing awareness and reducing stigma, they aim to create an environment where people feel safe to come forward and seek help.

Zoe Osmond, the Chief Executive of GambleAware, emphasises this point, stating, “This is why our stigma campaign is working to encourage people to open up about their experiences of gambling and seek the free help and support that is available.” Osmond recognises the vital role of support services in assisting individuals affected by problem gambling.

The government is also taking steps to protect those at risk of gambling harm in the West Midlands and throughout the country. Stuart Andrew, the Minister for Gambling, recognises the role of stigma as a barrier to seeking help. He highlights the benefits of opening up about gambling struggles and the importance of informing others when facing difficulties.

The government’s commitment to addressing problem gambling is evident in their gambling white paper, which includes measures to tackle gambling harms. Recent initiatives, such as stake limits for online slot games, demonstrate their determination to protect vulnerable individuals.

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