Gambling Harms Support Delivered by Third Sector Helped Nine Out of 10 Improve Condition – Annual Statistics Reveal

By | December 5, 2023
Reading Time: 3 minutes


New GambleAware data from the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) and the newly commissioned National Gambling Support Network (NGSN) highlight high efficacy and impact.

Nine in 10 people (88%) who completed treatment through the National Gambling Treatment Service – commissioned by the charity GambleAware – saw an improvement in their condition, according to the latest data released.

The National Gambling Treatment Service comprises 10 organisations operating across England, Scotland and Wales. The network provides free and confidential treatment, early intervention and prevention services for anyone experiencing gambling-related harms. Every year, nearly 7000 people access structured support through the network, and over 44,000 calls are answered by the National Gambling Helpline.

Despite considerable demand, waiting times were very short with 1 in 2 (50%) people seen within five days after their referral, and 3 in 4 (75%) seen within just nine days.

Anna Hargrave, Chief Commissioning and Strategy Officer at GambleAware, said: “Today’s data clearly demonstrates the value of the prevention-focused approach applied through our network. It is a timely reminder of the importance of investing in early treatment – especially as recently reported figures from the Gambling Commission suggest prevalence of harmful gambling may be much larger than previously estimated.”

In April, GambleAware relaunched the treatment service as the National Gambling Support Network (NGSN) – and demand for services has already risen. In April-June 2023, there was a 24% year-on-year increase in calls to the National Gambling Helpline, and a 46% year-on-year increase in early intervention – including guided, online and in person support – delivered through the Helpline. This is in addition to an 18% rise in demand for structured treatment.

Graham England, CEO at Ara Recovery for All, said: “NGSN services represent the first line of defence in supporting and reaching people before problems with gambling become catastrophic consequences. We are talking about brilliant, dedicated teams making a decisive difference in the lives of thousands of people across Great Britain. The latest data from this network commissioned through GambleAware, highlights just how effective, and desperately needed, those tailored, community-focused, interventions are.”

The figures published by GambleAware highlights the effectiveness of the services provided and the emphasise on early intervention and prevention – but the charity has issued a stark warning that they could collapse under the Government’s current proposals for the implementation of the statutory levy on gambling operators.

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “We welcome the government’s forthcoming statutory levy on gambling operators – it is a measure we have long called for to make sure that funding for vital research, treatment and prevention of gambling harms is both long-term and transparent. However, the focus on specialist-led services means right now, hundreds of dedicated third sector support workers are deeply concerned about their future and the future of the communities they serve.

“There is an urgent need for reassurance from Government that these essential services will be protected during and following the transition. We cannot lose the vast years of experience and expertise contained in the National Gambling Support Network and the wider third sector.”

In addition to hampering the third-sector’s ability to deliver vital services, leading experts have also raised concerns that the Government’s proposed new system would increase pressure on the NHS’ finances and waiting lists.

Professor Dame Clare Gerada said: “From my experience running the NHS Primary Care Gambling Service, which is part of the National Gambling Support Network, I have seen first-hand the benefits of being part of a thriving and connected third sector ecosystem. My experience has also made it abundantly clear that whilst the NHS gambling clinics have a place in the system, what we also need is an approach which aims to prevent gambling harms from escalating – before people find themselves at the much more serious point of needing specialist care.

“Gambling harms are a societal, public health issue – not just a medical one. Whilst the specialist sector has a valuable and important role, relying predominantly on this sector is neither financially viable nor logistically feasible.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *