GambleAware data has revealed that nine out of 10 people (88 per cent) who went through the National Gambling Treatment Service saw improvement after completing their treatment, with large reductions in gambling problems on average.
The data comes from GambleAware’s 2022/23 NGTS Annual Statistics report and is released as the charity calls for reassurance by the UK government that the new statutory levy proposal will not put third-sector support services at risk of collapse.
GambleAware commissions the NGTS, which is made up of 10 organisations across England, Scotland and Wales, offering free and confidential treatment, early intervention, and prevention services for anyone experiencing gambling-related harms.
Nearly 7,000 people every year access structured support through the NGTS, and over 44,000 calls are answered by the National Gambling Helpline. Despite the high traffic, 50 per cent of people are seen within five days after their referral, and 75 per cent are seen within nine days.
Commenting on the data, Anna Hargrave, Chief Commissioning and Strategy Officer at GambleAware, said: “Today’s data clearly demonstrates the value of the prevention-focused approach applied through our network.
“It is a timely reminder of the importance of investing in early treatment – especially as recently reported figures from the Gambling Commission suggest prevalence of harmful gambling may be much larger than previously estimated.”
The National Gambling Support Network was relaunched by GambleAware earlier this year in April and has since gone on to provide vital support to those who need it most.
Between April and June 2023, the service saw a 24 per cent year-over-year increase in calls to the National Gambling Helpline, a 46 per cent increase in early intervention delivered through the helpline, and an 18 per cent rise in structured treatment demand.
“NGSN services represent the first line of defence in supporting and reaching people before problems with gambling become catastrophic consequences,” noted Graham England, CEO at Ara Recovery for All.
“We are talking about brilliant, dedicated teams making a decisive difference in the lives of thousands of people across Great Britain. The latest data from this network commissioned through GambleAware, highlights just how effective, and desperately needed, those tailored, community-focused, interventions are.”
Additional data from GambleAware shows that the demand for preventative support has increased year-over-year in the first quarter, with help delivered through the National Gambling Helpline rising by 46 per cent.
The charity has stated that the data release shows the “effectiveness of the services provided” and an emphasis on early intervention and prevention.
However, GambleAware added that these services could “collapse under the government’s current proposals for the implementation of the statutory levy on gambling operators”.
Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, remarked: “We welcome the government’s forthcoming statutory levy on gambling operators – it is a measure we have long called for to make sure that funding for vital research, treatment and prevention of gambling harms is both long-term and transparent.
“However, the focus on specialist-led services means right now, hundreds of dedicated third-sector support workers are deeply concerned about their future and the future of the communities they serve.
“There is an urgent need for reassurance from the government that these essential services will be protected during and following the transition. We cannot lose the vast years of experience and expertise contained in the National Gambling Support Network and the wider third sector.”
GambleAware noted that experts believe the new proposals from the government could also put increasing pressure on the NHS’ finances and waiting lists.
“From my experience running the NHS Primary Care Gambling Service, which is part of the National Gambling Support Network, I have seen first-hand the benefits of being part of a thriving and connected third-sector ecosystem,” stated Professor Dame Clare Gerada.
“My experience has also made it abundantly clear that whilst the NHS gambling clinics have a place in the system, what we also need is an approach which aims to prevent gambling harms from escalating – before people find themselves at the much more serious point of needing specialist care.
“Gambling harms are a societal, public health issue – not just a medical one. Whilst the specialist sector has a valuable and important role, relying predominantly on this sector is neither financially viable nor logistically feasible.”