A leading Public Health official is appealing to North East Lincolnshire residents to think about the risks of gambling getting “out of control” in the wake of a report highlighting how online gambling losses are skewed towards deprived areas.
The report, produced by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the University of Liverpool, found that some 29% of gaming accounts came from the most deprived areas and 25% of customer losses from gaming came from the 20% most deprived areas.
Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Greater Lincolnshire, said that the report highlighted the risks of gambling in areas of deprivation:
“Gambling is a massive concern for areas like ours, with residents losing thousands of pounds a year to gambling companies.
“But the issue isn’t just financial. Gambling problems can have damaging effects to psychological and physical health and has caused families and friendships to break apart. 60% of those with a gambling problem in the UK suffer from depression.
“To many, the occasional flutter is just a bit of fun, but for a lot of people it can become a problem.
“If you feel your gambling or someone else’s gambling is getting out of control support and advice is available to help feel in control of gambling again.”
Spot the signs
There are a number of signs to look out for, these include:
- Spending more money and time on gambling than you can afford
- Finding it hard to manage or stop your gambling
- Having arguments with family or friends about money and gambling
- Losing interest in usual activities or hobbies and neglecting work, family and personal needs/responsibilities
- Always thinking or talking about gambling
- Lying about your gambling or hiding it from other people
- Chasing losses or gambling to get out of financial trouble
- Gambling until all of your money is gone
- Borrowing money, selling possessions or not paying bills in order to pay for gambling
- Needing to gamble with more money or for a longer period of time to get the same feeling of excitement
- Feeling anxious, worried, guilty, depressed, or irritable.
Tips if you’re finding it too hard not to gamble:
- Pay important bills, such as your mortgage, on payday before you gamble
- Spend more time with family and friends who don’t gamble
- Deal with your debts rather than ignoring them.
- View gambling as a way to make money – try to see it as entertainment instead
- Bottle up your worries about your gambling – talk to someone
- Take credit cards with you when you go gambling.
Free support and treatment is available in North East Lincolnshire.
Krysallis- external site (in partnership with GamCare) – Delivers a free service in North East Lincolnshire.
GamCare- external site – Offers free one-to-one counselling, couples counselling and group counselling for problem gamblers and their families and runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 802 0133)
More options for support are available at: www.livewell.nelincs.gov.uk/your-wellbeing/harmful-gambling.