National Gambling Helpline Now Operates 24/7

The National Gambling Helpline, funded by GambleAware and run by Gamcare is now operational 24-hours a day, accessible via webchat or phone. GambleAware, the largest UK gambling charity hopes this service will provide help for anyone who needs help dealing with harmful gambling habits.

A keyboard key with the word "help".

Support is now just the push of a button away, 24/7, with online and phone support provided by GamCare

The webchat and free telephone line are accessible to anyone affected by dangerous gambling habits, whether they are the gamblers themselves or have been harmed as a result of another person’s gambling.

The Gambling Commission estimates that there are some 340,000 gambling addicts across the UK and up to 2,000,000 people who are at risk of becoming problem gamblers. This highlights the need for effective helplines for those suffering from or at risk of gambling addiction-related problems and according to experts, such people may feel most isolated during the night. Providing support 24-hours a day will, therefore, be instrumental in helping those who are in need, at times when they need it most.

GamCare in Demand

The National Gambling Helpline, which is run by GamCare, reported over 30,000 calls in 2018/19 – a figure which is increasing each year. Advisers from the company will now be available to provide support to callers at all hours of the day. By listening to those who are either at risk of or who have an addiction to gambling, these advisers can help to explore the issues of callers and can help them to get in touch with treatment and support services that are local to the caller.

Round the clock availability has been standard in gambling services for years, and yet there has been no such availability of support services aimed at helping those suffering as a result of gambling. Anna Hemmings, the chief executive officer of GamCare emphasized the point that support services should reflect the availability of gambling itself, and should enable people in need to access support immediately and advise people struggling with gambling addiction referring them to treatment services when necessary.

The changes in the availability of support have been welcomed by The Gambling Commission, as well as by GambleAware, the entity which funds GamCare.

Marc Etches, the head of GambleAware has stressed that providing people with professional help when they are in need remains one of the highest priorities for the charity which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of gambling and help those in need of support as a result of gambling addiction. The National Gambling HelpLine is a crucial part of the National Gambling Treatment Service, which aims to help problem gamblers and those affected by problem gamblers as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Fight Against Problem Gambling

GamCare has recently published a new three-year strategy to help them ensure fewer people are harmed by gambling. In this, they state their focus will be on three main areas: problem gambling, risk reduction and safer gambling.

The company aims to triple the number of people receiving interventions, and to target groups of individuals who are deemed at an increased risk of developing a gambling addiction through outreach, education and better screening of individuals who are gambling.

They have also stated their intent to provide training and accreditation to those who provide the gambling services, with the aim of promoting protection for the people gambling and to raise awareness of those at risk of problem gambling within the companies themselves.

Providing round the clock support is therefore just one method of many which will be employed by GamCare in order to limit the problems which can arise through gambling. In a statement, Anna Hemmings made the intent of GamCare over the coming years clear and outlined the efforts which would be made by the company in line with this three-year strategy.

“This is an exciting time for GamCare. Although we have set ourselves some challenging targets to achieve over the coming years we are confident that we can achieve them. We have a clear vision for the future that will make significant inroads in reducing gambling-related harm, working closely with our funders, partners and the industry to deliver positive outcomes for both individuals and communities.” Anna Hemmings, CEO, GamCare

The HelpLine can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, either online through the GamCare website – gamcare.org.uk – or advisers can be called for free on 08088 020 133.

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