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Contact with GamCare reaches record high

| By Marese O'Hagan
GamCare has reported a rise in calls and online chats to its National Gambling Helpline to 44,049 for the year ended 31 March 2023 – the highest level on record.

GamCare’s annual report chronicles its activities for the year, outlining its financial results as well as how its tools have been used.

In the 12-month period, total targeted calls and chats rose by 4.7% to 44,049. In total, GamCare said 82,505 calls, chats and treatment sessions were delivered throughout the 12 months. Looking at prevention, GamCare said 64,374 people had trained in gambling awareness throughout the year, which included 45,562 at-risk children and young people.

The total number of people who attended treatment in the 12 months also grew, increasing by 0.4% year-on-year to 9,009. This treatment takes the form of structured treatment sessions or Extended Brief Interventions. In total, 38,456 treatment sessions were undertaken.

“In the year that GamCare reached 25 years as an organisation, it is heartening to see so much work being done to support people through gambling harms,” said Margaret Daly, GamCare’s chair of trustees. “We’ve taken significant steps towards putting gambling harms treatment and support on the map and encouraging more people to come forward for help.” 

“Looking forward, our focus remains on reducing barriers to accessing support and delivering the high-quality services that can change people’s lives.”

Reasons for accessing the helpline

Of those who accessed GamCare’s helpline or partook in treatment within the 12 months, 63% said their primary reason for gambling was chasing losses and/or wins. Elsewhere 34% cited escapism as a reason, while 31% attributed their gambling to financial difficulties.

In January this year, GamCare launched its Money Guidance Service. The service aims to provide financial advice to those experiencing harmful gambling.

GamCare annual report also said that, where known, 87.3% of those who contacted its helpline were gamblers and 12.7% were affected others. Those who contacted the helpline were predominantly male, at 68%, while 30% of those who contacted the helpline were female. In October 2022, GamCare launched an online support group for women impacted by gambling. Transgender or other gender made up 2%.

In terms of age ranges, the 26-35 age group made the highest level of contact with the helpline, at 41.7%. The 36-45 age group made up 22.9% of all contact with the helpline, while 15.4% of all contact came from those aged 25 and under.

Financial results

GamCare’s report also included its financial results for the 12 months that ended on 31 March.

During this period, GamCare’s total income included £7.4m in donations, 15.7% higher than the previous year. Charitable activities made up £12.5m of the income, a rise of 35.0% while investment income shot up by £33,422 to £35,072.

The income from total funds for 2022-23 came to £20.1m, marking an increase of 27.3%. Total expenditure for the year hit £18.2m, resulting in a net income of £1.8m.

At the end of GamCare’s financial year, CEO Anna Hemmings departed after five years with the charity. Daly said GamCare’s new CEO would join the company “at the right moment to build on GamCare’s strengths and success to date”.

Last month, GamCare reported that three in five online gamblers searching for harmful gambling support cited online slots as a source of concern.

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