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GambleAware Campaign Looks to Detigmatize Problem Gambling

GambleAware, the UK charity, is launching a new campaign aimed destigmatizing problem gamblers and getting those suffering with gambling problems the help they need. It’s an ambitious and worthy goal, especially given the fact that the group’s own research suggests that two-thirds of all problem gamblers will never seek any kind of professional assistance.

According to GambleAware, problem gambling is an issue that’s been shrouded in darkness and shame. The group recently reported that 64 percent of UK residents who have suffered some form of problem gambling are too embarrassed to seek help. A full 39 percent of those same problem gamblers have never told anyone about their gambling habits.

The aforementioned statistics are particularly heartbreaking given the fact that 76 percent of the problem gamblers GambleAware studied found that talking about their problems had a positive impact.

Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew commented on the issue in a recent GambleAware blog post saying, Too often we see the devastating impacts of harmful gambling, and our white paper outlines a host of new measures we’re implementing to protect those most at risk. A key element of our plans is the introduction of a statutory levy on gambling companies to raise sufficient, sustainable and trusted funding for research, prevention and treatment of gambling related harm. Stigma is the biggest barrier preventing people from seeking help, and I welcome GambleAware’s vital campaign which is raising awareness of the issue and helping people get the support they need.”

These feelings of shame are all the more saddening given the fact that the public at large generally acknowledges the addictive nature of many contemporary gambling products. GambleAware studies recently revealed that 71 percent of the public believes that scratch card games are addictive.