Stigma cited as a key barrier in female gamblers accessing treatment services

Research commissioned by GambleAware and completed by YouGov has been published, aiming to develop and deeper understanding around the experiences of women and gambling.

The study found that more than a third (35 per cent) of female gamblers, who experience high levels of harm and have a PGSI score of 8+, are from a BAME background, compared to 12 per cent of the overall female population. 

This same pattern is also seen amongst male gamblers, with 29 per cent of men with a PGSI score of 8+ coming from a BAME background, compared to 12 per cent of men overall. 

Stigma was cited as an overwhelming reason for not accessing treatment services, with researchers reporting that a higher proportion of women than men cited this rationale.

Among those who did not want treatment, advice or support to help them cut down their gambling, two in five (39 per cent) female problem gamblers said feeling embarrassed or not wanting people to find out about their gambling was a key barrier,, compared to just over one in five (22 per cent) male problem gamblers.

However, knowing that support and treatment would be confidential is particularly important for female problem gamblers, with one in five (20 per cent) saying this would be a key motivating factor.

Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, explained: “This report has highlighted not only the challenges that need to be overcome, but also the opportunities available to service providers to help increase take-up of treatment and support to help reduce and prevent gambling harms among women. 

“Across our treatment network, in line with the National Gambling Treatment Service, we are working with women to better understand the barriers they may face when it comes to seeking advice or help for their gambling, or experience as an affected other, so that we can continue to ensure they have access the services they need, regardless of their gender or background.”

Furthermore, it was also found that eight per cent of women fit into the ‘affected others’ category, those who experience harm as a result of someone else’s gambling, and that 16 per cent of these are from a BAME background

Researchers also found that women are more negatively impacted by the gambling of a close family member than men, with 35 per cent of female affected others, compared to just 9 per cent of males, are negatively affected by the gambling of a spouse or partner. 

However men were found to be more likely to be affected by the gambling of a friend or flatmate than women, with 33 per cent citing this, compared to just 9 per cent of females. Among those affected by the gambling of a parent, 88 per cent of women, in comparison to 75 per cent of men, said this had a moderate or severe negative impact.  

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, said of the findings: “This research indicates that women, particularly in the capacity as an affected other, experience gambling harms in different ways to men and this report is an important first step in understanding those differences. 

“This research was commissioned to help treatment providers, such as those operating via the National Gambling Treatment Service, address any barriers people may face when it comes to accessing help and support for their gambling and it is essential that services are flexible and meet the needs of individuals.”