Proportion of problem gamblers seeking help rises

A woman gambling online
The Canary

The proportion of “problem gamblers” seeking treatment increased significantly over the last year, a study has found.


More than six in 10 (63%) problem gamblers said they had used some form of treatment, advice, or support in the past 12 months, compared with just over half (54%) in November 2019, according to GambleAware’s second annual GB Treatment and Support survey.

The charity welcomed the findings as “encouraging”, especially during the pandemic, when rates of online gambling have soared. This increase in treatment was driven by reported use of mental health services rising significantly from 12% to 19%.

There was also an increase in reported usage of advice and support, rising from 39% to 48%, driven in part by the use of self-help apps or tools, including self-exclusion technology, which 14% reported using, up from 9% in 2019.

Overall, more than half of adults (56%) reported participating in any gambling activity in the last 12 months, down from 61% in October 2019.

The survey suggests 2.4% of British adults are problem gamblers.


Barriers to seeking treatment or support for problem gambling included concern around stigma (22%) and the perception that help would be inaccessible (15%).

The survey found that more than half of problem gamblers (59%) wanted some form of help.

GambleAware chief executive Zoe Osmond said:

It is encouraging to see a year-on-year increase in those classified as ‘problem gamblers’ seeking help, especially during the pandemic.

These results will be used to help inform GambleAware’s new commissioning strategy as we continue our work to increase provision of and access to services.

The government is currently reviewing the 2005 Gambling Act and a consultation, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, is due to end this month.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. OK, but please nott go down the usual, lazy road of advocating taxation on gambling. Before the tax was removed (by Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson, god bless him)) the tax was invariably passed on by the bookmakers to the punters. Since the abolition of betting tax, competition has led to a more nearly level-playing field for the punter, especially in sports betting. For most gamblers there is not a problem., and a few are able from there skill even to turn a profit. By the way, do we include stock-market and financial traders as ”gamblers” ?

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.