GamCare has published a new Lockdown Report which highlights concerns for vulnerable gamblers as we head towards the winter months and potentially another UK lockdown. The gambling harm prevention charity stated that the main issues in the report were over privacy and boredom.
Privacy Issues and Online Gambling in 2020
This new report from GamCare looks at the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has changed the way in which many problem gamblers get support and treatment. The main concern was that because families were spending much more time at home, the use of the 24/7 telephone service had dropped. This was attributed to the privacy issue of many gamblers not wanting their families to know about their problems.
While the phone line number of calls went down, the live chat function use went up as more gamblers switched to this communication method. GamCare noted in their report that the main problems for those in contact with their chatroom help service were around isolation and finances.
However, the better news is that the number of people actually needing and starting treatment for a gambling problem between March and August remained lower than in the previous year, but numbers for their services did still remain high.
The other issue discussed in the report was boredom, as a YouGov study commissioned by GambleAware found that just over half of respondents said their reason for gambling was ‘relieving boredom or for something to do.’
What Did GamCare Have to Say About the Report?
The Chief Executive of GamCare, Anna Hemmings, noted that the pandemic had impacted people’s help-seeking for gambling issues and that most problems were surrounding money, anxiety and isolation.
She also stated that it is important for groups such as GamCare to actively encourage people to seek help if they need it as further lockdowns could provide more risks and a bigger impact for problem gamblers.