Citizens Advice can help people deal with the effects of problem gambling. While these include the more obvious issues like debt problem gambling can also affect relationships as well as having an impact at work and again Citizens Advice can help. However while CAB advisers can provide much needed support, they cannot help problem gamblers to tackle their addictive behaviour.
The road to recovery starts with an admission that there is a problem and that first step can be difficult. No one should underestimate how difficult because the problem gambler is likely to be in denial.
If you gamble and have access to the Internet there is a simple questionnaire you can complete on the NHS Choices website which will give you an indication of whether you are a problem gambler.
This web page also has some advice on self-help, where to start to tackle an addiction and external links to other organisation which can help problem gamblers. If you don’t have access to the Internet, here are some of the options NHS Choices suggests you could try:
- National Problem Gambling Clinic. If you live in England or Wales and are aged 16 or over, you can refer yourself to this specialist NHS clinic for problem gamblers. You can call them on 020 7381 7722, leaving a contact number. Someone should get back to you within 24 hours
- GamCare. Offers free information, support and counselling for problem gamblers in the UK. It runs the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) and also offers face-to-face counselling.
- Gamblers Anonymous UK. Offers the same 12-step approach to recovery from addiction as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also GamAnon support groups for friends and family.
Is problem gambling a particular issue in Farnham or Waverley? It is almost impossible to say because the hard evidence needed to draw definite conclusions is difficult to find. Last year, in an article on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) a national newspaper published a table compiled on behalf of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling using data released by the Gambling Commission and the Responsible Gambling Trust. The article alleged that the gambling industry was targeting deprived areas by installing more FOBTs (claimed by many to be highly addictive) in poorer parliamentary constituencies. Several gambling industry spokesmen claimed the research was flawed though the estimated total amount lost by FOBT gamblers in the UK in 2015-16 (£1.7billion) is not disputed.
According to the published table, gamblers’ losses per machine were higher in constituencies like Southwest Surrey, Aldershot and Guildford than Blackpool South for example where the numbers of FOBTs is much higher. The estimated amount lost by FOBT gamblers in 2015-16 on each machine available in our three local constituencies was around £54,000 a year compared with £41,000 in Blackpool South and £48,300 in Birmingham Ladywood. There were an estimated 29 FOBTs in Southwest Surrey (one per 2,670 electors) and 146 (one per 440 electors) in Birmingham Ladywood when the table was compiled.
So, whether you accept that some bookmakers are targeting poorer areas or not it is clear problem gambling related to FOBTs is as likely to arise in Farnham as anywhere else.
For more information and advice on how to deal with gambling debt (or on debt in general), Benefits, Work, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can:
- call 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.
- visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ to access our comprehensive range of information and advice,
- or follow us on https://twitter.com/waverleycab