Gambling charity GamCare has issued a warning that the cost of living crisis has seen Brits turn to gambling as a way to make more money.
GamCare runs the National Gambling Helpline 24 hours a day seven days a week, and it’s said that its advisors have heard from callers discussing the rising cost of living and how it’s affecting their lives.
Advisors working for the National Gambling Helpline have reported that some callers on Universal Credit have turned to gambling as a way to make extra money to cover the increase in bills but have ended up in a worse situation as a result of doing so.
Helpline advisors have also reported that people they’ve successfully helped in the past have relapsed into gambling amidst the financial pressure and require more support for their gambling.
A YouGov survey commissioned by GamCare of 4,000 people from across the UK found that almost half (46%) are worried or very worried about their financial situation. The figure rises to 61% for those who report losing significant amounts of money to gambling.
The same survey also found that horse racing (36%) and football (21%) are the two most popular sporting events to bet on in the last 12 months, while problem gamblers and those with a moderate level of problem gambling usually bet on football matches (56% and 60%) and horse racing (29% and 48%).
The survey also found a link between gambling and cryptocurrency and that those who have experienced serious gambling harm are more likely to experience negative impacts when trading cryptocurrencies.
According to the survey, 43% of problem gamblers own cryptocurrency. What’s more, around 66% of low-level problem gamblers are motivated to purchase cryptocurrency to make money while only 24% of high-level problem gamblers are.
GamCare’s survey also found that 59% of 16-24 year-olds who gamble have not placed a bet on a sporting event in the last 12 months, but 17% of the people in the same group own cryptocurrency.
Finally, the survey found a lack of parental awareness and low levels of confidence in speaking to youngsters about newer trends like cryptocurrencies.
Anna Hemmings, the Chief Executive of GamCare, said in a statement: “For 25 years, GamCare has helped people experiencing problems with gambling. Over this time, we’ve gained knowledge and expertise from working collaboratively, including with people who have lived experience, on how to best support those affected by gambling harms – including gamblers, their family and friends.
“Our helpline advisors are hearing that the cost of living is impacting people’s gambling behaviours – particularly those gamblers who have recovered. We are currently developing a new in-house Money Guidance Service to better support people using our services, with financial difficulties and debt.”
She continued: “We also know that our team are hearing from more and more people who are reaching out for help around crypto trading. It is concerning to see the survey data, which suggests that those who have experienced serious gambling harms are more likely to experience negative impacts when crypto trading, such as chasing their losses, feeling overwhelmed and not being able to pay their bills.”
“As we turn 25, and look to the upcoming Gambling Act Review, we will continue to raise awareness of gambling issues, including newer trends, and become more accessible to help people spot the signs and reach out for support. We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us. Whether you’re concerned for yourself or for others, we’re here to support you.”