Vast majority of problem gamblers benefit from treatment – NGTS

| By Robert Fletcher
The vast majority of people who completed a problem gambling treatment schedule in England, Scotland and Wales in 2021-22 improved their behaviour and psychological wellbeing, according to the latest annual statistics from the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).
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However, among those who stopped receiving treatment in the period, 30% opted out before the scheduled conclusion, illustrating the ongoing challenge facing the industry.

The NGTS, which is commissioned by GambleAware, showed that 7,072 people received treatment between April 2021 and March 2022, including 1,076 people who were impacted by someone else’s gambling.

Of those, 92% registered an improvement on the Problem Gambling Severity Index – a widely used metric – while 86% reported reduced psychological distress around gambling.

While 70% of clients were male, three-quarters were aged 44 years or younger. The proportion of female gambling clients increased from 13% in 2015-16 to 21% in 2021-22, the NGTS said.

Among online gambling platforms – relevant to 75% of those who received treatment – casino slots represented the most common activity, followed by sports betting and casino table games.

Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see that the National Gambling Treatment Service continues to improve the lives of those who experience gambling harms and remains a highly effective treatment option.

“It is also encouraging to see the fall in those accessing more advanced treatment balanced out with more and more people accessing the helpline and other services as a means of support. Gambling harms can affect anyone and it is important to encourage people to seek support and treatment early on.

“We remain committed to ensuring that we work closely with our partners to understand how we can further optimise uptake and retention. We also acknowledge the urgent need to raise awareness of the service and improve access to it across the diverse range of populations and people that could stand to benefit from treatment.”

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