UK Gambling Addiction Treatment Reports Improvements, But Fewer Clients

December 1, 2021
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A high percentage of people completing the UK’s National Gambling Treatment Service measurably improved their condition, but fewer people received treatment in the 2020-21 fiscal year, GambleAware has said. About 92 percent of those completing the treatment improved their Problem Gambling Severity Index scores, the non-profit group said on Tuesday.

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A high percentage of people completing the UK’s National Gambling Treatment Service measurably improved their condition, but fewer people received treatment in the 2020-21 fiscal year, GambleAware has said.

About 92 percent of those completing the treatment improved their Problem Gambling Severity Index scores, the non-profit group said on Tuesday.

But 518 fewer people completed treatment in the year to the end of March 2021 than in the previous fiscal year, a problem the group blames on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 8,500 people received structured treatment in the most recent year and about 70 percent were no longer judged as “problem gamblers” at the end of their programme, the group said.

About 93 percent of client referrals were self-made, with less than 1 percent of referrals coming from doctors or general practitioners, the industry-funded group said.

Clients who participated in online gambling rose to 79 percent in 2020-21 from 57 percent in 2015, GambleAware said.

“It is encouraging to see that during an unprecedented year, when many of the services had to move online, the National Gambling Treatment Service has been able to continue to deliver good results for those receiving treatment,”said GambleAware chief executive Zoe Osmond.

“The worryingly low uptake of services however underlines the very real need to continue to raise awareness of and improve pathways to the service, so that more people know that help is available,” she said.

The service is jointly commissioned by NHS England and GambleAware, and includes GamCare, Gordon Moody, and National Health Service treatment centres.

Separately, GAMSTOP, the UK gambling self-exclusion service, said it has seen a spike of nearly one-third so far this year in registrations.

With 67,000 new registrations so far this year, up from 51,000 last year, the service now has registered more than 250,000 people, the group said. About 228,000 are currently self-excluding, the organisation said.

“The registration levels are higher than anticipated this year, though we cannot pinpoint one specific reason for this,” said GAMSTOP CEO Fiona Palmer.

“We have developed the scheme to make it easier to register and have worked hard on raising our profile to make sure we are more visible to those who might need us,” she said. “The effects of the pandemic might also have something to do with the rise.”

National self-exclusion programmes are becoming common in Europe as a method of containing gambling addiction.

By the end of September, the Swedish system, Spelpaus, had registered nearly 66,000 residents.

The Danish self-exclusion system, ROFUS, had nearly 30,000 registrations by the end of September, with nearly 20,000 of them permanent, according to the Danish Gambling Authority.

In the Netherlands, as of October 1, licensed operators are required to check the nationwide CRUKS self-exclusion register before any player is allowed to gamble, as of October 1.

In Germany, the regional council of Darmstadt oversees the OASIS national self-exclusion system, which launched in August.

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