Written by Amy Beecham
New research reveals that one in 10 women who gamble have already reported turning to gambling to try to supplement their household income as prices rise.
The rising cost of living could lead to an increase in gambling harms among women who gamble, the charity GambleAware has warned. New analysis released today revealed one in four women aged 18-49 who gamble expect to increase their gambling in the coming months due to the cost of living crisis.
The winter period is already traditionally associated with a spike in traffic to gambling websites among women. But as surveys show one in 10 people plan to take out a loan to cover the cost of their gas and electricity bills, there are serious concerns that thousands of households could fall into gambling debt.
One in 10 women who gamble have already reported turning to gambling to try and supplement their household income as prices rise, with one in five experiencing health challenges such as stress and anxiety.
In response, GambleAware has launched a prevention campaign targeting women, to raise awareness of vital support available for those who may be struggling.
“This new research raises serious concerns over the potential growth in the scale of gambling harm over the coming months. With such a stark warning sign, it is vital we help ensure more women are aware of the risks of gambling,” explains Zoë Osmond, chief executive of GambleAware. “As financial hardships accelerate amid the cost-of-living crisis, and the number of women gambling online increases, we are concerned it is creating a perfect storm, which may lead to a rise in the number of women experiencing gambling harm.”
What impact is gambling having on women?
“Gambling harms can impact anyone from any walk of life. It can cause a strain on relationships, affect work, and if not addressed, could lead to significant emotional, physical and financial burden,” explains Dr Linda Papadopoulus, leading psychologist and spokesperson for the campaign.
“We cannot underestimate the role that stigma plays in preventing women from seeking support for issues related to gambling. It can sometimes be difficult to start those early conversations, but suffering in silence only increases feelings of isolation. Help is often just a conversation away so if you are worried about yourself or a loved one, speak up and reach out.”
How to spot the early warning signs of gambling harms
According to Dr Papadopoulus, spotting early warning signs around gambling and starting a conversation is key before these issues escalate.“Signs to look out for include losing track of time whilst gambling, spending more money than intended, and gambling alone so that others don’t see,” she explains.
However, gambling addiction has long been viewed as a male-centric problem, so seeing beyond the stereotypes around the issue is equally important.
“We cannot underestimate the role that stigma plays in preventing women from seeking support for issues related to gambling. It can sometimes be difficult to start those early conversations, but suffering in silence only increases feelings of isolation. Help is often just a conversation away so if you are worried about yourself or a loved one, speak up and reach out,” Dr Papadopoulus continues.
Anyone concerned about their gambling, or that of a loved one, can visit BeGambleAware.org for free, confidential advice and support, or The National Gambling Helpline is available on 0808 8020 133 and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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