The Gordon Moody Association has announced plans to open the world’s first-ever gambling treatment centre for women in 2021.
The gambling charity announced the news this week, revealing that the residential treatment centre will be based in the Midlands and will be the first of its kind both in the UK and across the rest of the world.
As reported by SBCNews, the residential centre, which has received funding from game developer InTouch Games Limited, will be used to offer gambling treatment and support to women suffering from severe gambling-related harm within a safe environment.
News of the centre comes as the Gordon Moody Association (GMA) revealed this week a 76% rise in the number of women from the UK seeking help from the charity, with 90,000 women visiting the website over the last year.
Although Gordon Moody already runs a women’s retreat and counselling programme, which in 2019 received 160 applications to the 36 available spaces, the new centre will allow the charity to provide better treatment to 24 women from all backgrounds and communities on an annual basis.
Annika Lindberg, the Trustee of GMA, said in a statement: “The number of women gambling in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. The rise of online gambling and the targeting of women with gambling advertising has led to an increased uptake of gambling amongst women in the UK.
“There is little doubt that women suffer even more from the stigma and shame surrounding gambling addiction. Treatment services have historically been geared towards dealing with the behaviours and causes we see in men.”
She continued: “While there will be similarities, there are also distinct differences between the causes, symptoms and drivers of male and female gambling behaviour.
“With the growing visibility of women reaching out for help, there is still work required to ensure that women get the right support, right treatment and right environment to deal with the range of complex issues that need to be tackled in helping them address their gambling disorder.”
GMA Chief Executive Matthew Hickey added: “Gambling is the hidden addiction and hidden further again within that is the story of women gamblers and women who are affected [by] others. There is an absolutely urgent need to change this, and the impact of Covid means this is a growing crisis that needs to be tackled with more expertise and resources.
“Gordon Moody Association has been addressing this challenge for a number of years through its retreat and counselling programme, and we now have plans to expand our treatment capacity within the next year to help urgently deal with this growing challenge.”
“But we feel this is just the beginning of what needs to be done” he continued, “and we will be arguing for much more capacity to be built and expert therapists to be trained in [the] future.”
A spokesperson for the centre’s funder InTouch Games Limited also issued a statement on the news, saying: “We are proud and honoured to be working in partnership with the Gordon Moody Association in the development of such a unique and groundbreaking project.
“This is a financial investment in furthering the critical work carried out by Gordon Moody, but it’s also about investing in the safer gambling culture of our whole organisation and raising awareness of our staff, customers and partners about the potential impact of gambling on the lives of vulnerable women and the barriers to treatment that they experience.”
The spokesperson added: “Working with the talented and dedicated team at Gordon Moody is undoubtedly deepening our knowledge and appreciation of issues surrounding problem gambling which, in turn, drives our commitment to do everything we can to protect our customers from experiencing harm.”
The launch of the centre marks the Gordon Moody Association’s latest step in helping people suffering from gambling-related harm. As a charity, Gordon Moody is funding from GambleAware but receives regular support from other companies, such as game developers InTouch Games Limited and Microgaming.
Just last month, Microgaming announced it was extending its support for the Gordon Moody Association by donating funds through its PlayItForward CSR programme to help support the families of people receiving gambling treatment.
The Microgaming PlayItForward programme launched in 2014 and has been used to support dozens of gambling charities including YGAM and Motiv8, both of which work to treat and prevent gambling-related harm among vulnerable individuals.
Since’s its launch, the staff-driven programme has also helped dozens of non-gambling charities and supported local and international communities by providing financial and practical help when possible.
In a statement addressing Microgaming’s decision to extend funding services, Kimberley Broad, the Director of Compliance at Microgaming, said: “At Microgaming, we strive to promote and support a safe, responsible environment for our customers and wider communities, which is why engaging and collaborating with charities such as Gordon Moody Association is incredibly important to us.
“Gordon Moody Association plays a key role in our community, providing individuals and families with much-needed support and care in treating and minimising the harm that can be caused by gambling. We are delighted to help support them and hope that this donation will go some way towards helping the charity continue the incredible work they do.”
Rob Mabbett, the Head of Growth at the GMA, added: “Collaborating with the likes of Microgaming and the wider industry is integral to what we do.
“On behalf of the team at Gordon Moody Association, we would like to thank Microgaming for their generous support and for all of the good work they are doing in the space of CSR and responsible gambling.”
He continued: “The donation from Microgaming PlayItForward will go towards a comfort fund. It will also help to assist families physically, emotionally, and mentally to find peace of mind while their loved ones access therapy for problem gambling.”