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Gambling Now Viewed As Potential Cost Of Living Solution

As the cost of living crisis continues, the deeper the long-lasting impacts will be – and it seems that some sectors of society may be more adversely affected than others.

Gamblers, for example, may find themselves particularly at risk of falling into further financial hardship, with new research revealing that some 42 per cent of people who are gambling at harmful levels believe that the pursuit will improve their financial situation in the next 12 months compared to seven per cent of adults.

Carried out by charity GamCare (1), the study found that 16 per cent of those gambling at harmful levels had gone to public spaces to keep warm in order to avoid spiralling energy costs, compared to five per cent of the UK population.

Over the last 12 months, National Gambling Helpline advisers have heard from callers who have been turning to betting shops as warm banks, as well as people on Universal Credit gambling in order to make extra money to pay essential bills. Furthermore, people on disability benefits have also been turning to the activity to help them make ends meet.

Parents with gambling problems, in particular, appear to be feeling the impact, with 50 per cent of those who have gambled at harmful levels saying they’ve had to go without essentials like washing clothes or food so as to afford items for their children in the last 12 months. This compares to 20 per cent of UK parents overall.

The study also found that this demographic is twice as likely to be worried about job security, eight times more likely to have taken out a payday loan in the last year and six times more likely to have used debt charities for financial assistance.

Commenting on the findings, chief executive officer Anna Hemmings said: “The rising cost-of-living is continuing to impact some sections of society harder than others, and the data from YouGov shows the challenges are particularly acute for people experiencing gambling harms.

“What we are still seeing is a proportion of those who are hit the hardest by the cost-of-living crisis being the ones looking towards gambling to ease their money worries.”

Earlier in the year, GamCare published its latest recommendations (2) for addressing gambling-related debt, focusing on the need for better referral pathways between sectors to support those in need.

A series of workshops exploring gambling and debt discussed various themes, including how these pathways could be set up so that debt and gambling could be addressed at the same time.

Identifying harmful gambling in debt advice clients was also recommended, with the charity often hearing that people try unsuccessfully to deal with their debts while they’re still gambling and that sticking to debt management plans can be difficult for those who are actively gambling.

If you are struggling with debt at the moment because of cost of living challenges, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.





Money Helper has replaced the Money Advice Service and brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.