Online betting fuels risk of harm for a MILLION women

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Online betting fuels risk of harm for a MILLION women because ease of access to gambling sites is too tempting, study finds

  • Six in ten women gamble in some form, including lottery and casinos
  • One in ten suffer some level of harm as a result, such as stress and anxiety
  • The number of women receiving treatment for gambling has doubled in the past five years
  • The number has risen from 1,134 in 2015/16 to 2,423 in 2020/21










A million women are battling harmful gambling as ‘ease of access to online betting’ is fueling a rise in problems, research shows.

Six out of ten women gamble in one form or another, including playing the lottery, going to the casino and betting online.

And one in ten suffer some level of harm as a result, such as developing stress and anxiety or borrowing money to fund their habit.

The number of women receiving treatment for gambling has doubled in the past five years – from 1,134 in 2015/16 to 2,423 in 2020/21 – but the NHS said many more needed help. A YouGov survey commissioned by charity GambleAware asked 12,000 adults about their gambling habits to determine the extent of the problem.

They were given a score of 0-9, known as the Problem Gambling Severity Index, which measures how harmful a habit is based on criteria such as financial hardship and guilt around gambling. And 4% of women – about one million in total – scored above three on the scale, meaning they are experiencing negative consequences.

Six in ten women gamble in one form or another, including playing the lottery, going to the casino and betting online (stock image)

Men were twice as likely as women to be classified as problem gamblers, but women were more likely to say their gambling caused mental health problems. The study found that approximately 40% of women with gambling problems do not seek help due to embarrassment.

Women’s online gambling is 29% higher between December and March than the rest of the year.

GambleAware has now launched the first campaign aimed at women, to help those who have a problem seek help.

Liz Karter, a leading female gambling addiction therapist, said: “Gambling behaviors manifest differently in women than in men.

“For example, we know that the easy availability of online gambling leads many women to games that seem innocent and socially acceptable…because they are so similar to the free digital games we are all used to playing. hopes of financial gain can be a powerful motivator.

The study found around 40 per cent of women with gambling problems do not seek help due to embarrassment (stock image)

The study found around 40 per cent of women with gambling problems do not seek help due to embarrassment (stock image)

Experts say there are three main warning signs for problem gamblers: losing track of time, spending more than they can afford, and keeping their game a secret.

Zoe Osmond, Managing Director of GambleAware, said: “We are launching this new gambling harm prevention campaign at a time when there could be up to one million women at risk of gambling harm.”

“Our research shows that women may be unaware that they are beginning to experience harm from gambling or may worry about seeking help due to stigma or shame.”

Yesterday it also emerged that the NHS is planning to ban gaming companies from funding their addiction clinics from the new financial year.

The health service receives around £1.2million a year from betting companies, but health officials believe it may jeopardize their work.

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