In 2023, the National Gambling Helpline experienced an unprecedented surge in calls, with a total of 52,370 calls and online chats, representing a 24% increase from the previous year. GamCare, the organization behind the helpline, noted that August was the busiest month for calls, and December saw a 39% increase compared to the previous year.
The holiday season brought a wave of calls from individuals concerned about their loved ones’ gambling habits and the impact of gambling advertisements on television. Additionally, some callers voiced concerns about the cost-of-living crisis. The introduction of the helpline’s WhatsApp channel also led to 6,000 additional interactions.
In another positive development, almost 7,000 Gamban blocking software licenses were obtained for free through TalkBanStop, a partnership between GamCare, Gamban, and GAMSTOP.
Samantha Turnton, GamCare’s head of remote support services, described the significant increase in calls as a “landmark climb.” She emphasized that while the numbers may appear alarming, the silver lining is that more people are reaching out at an earlier stage, making intervention easier.
Turnton encouraged anyone struggling with gambling to seek help, regardless of their stage in the journey to recovery. Anna Hargrave, GambleAware’s chief commissioning and strategy officer, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the importance of prevention and early intervention services.
As the National Gambling Support Network was established, Hargrave emphasized the need for prioritizing support services and swift intervention within the new system once the statutory gambling levy is introduced.
Meanwhile, Ygam, one of Britain’s largest gambling harm charities, is commemorating its 10th anniversary year, further highlighting the ongoing efforts to address gambling-related issues.