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UK National Gambling Helpline opens 24 hours a day 01/10/19
• GambleAware, the leading charity in the UK committed to reducing gambling-related harms, expands its National Gambling Helpline to operate 24 hours a day from October 1st 2019.
The helpline features a live chat and Freephone channel, with trained advisors providing callers with advice on gambling-related problems and connect them with local problem gambling treatment services.

According to GamCare, the helpline received over 30,000 calls in 2018-19 and this figure is expected to increase, with the GB Gambling Commission estimating that there are around 340,000 problem gamblers (0.7% of people aged 16+) in the UK and up to a further 2m at risk.

However, the 24-hour-a-day service will initially run as a pilot scheme but will likely be extended if this trial proves to be successful.

“With the 24-hour nature of gambling, people sometimes feel at their most isolated overnight, when other support services are closed,” GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings said. “They will now be able to reach our highly trained advisers 24 hours a day, who can offer immediate support, advice and referral to our network of treatment services nationally.”

GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches added: “GambleAware is responsible for commissioning the National Gambling Helpline, which is a core element of an emerging National Gambling Treatment Service. Our priority is to keep people safe and to ensure support services are easily accessible. As such, we are pleased to be funding an extension to the helpline’s operating hours, and we will evaluate its performance over time.”

Earlier in September, the UK’s first gambling addiction service outside of London has launched, with problem gamblers now able to access care at a new facility in Leeds. The NHS service, run by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), is being funded jointly by NHS England and GambleAware. It is part of the NHS Northern Gambling Service, with further facilities in Manchester and Sunderland set to open in early 2020.

Last week, GambleAware also partnered the University of Bristol on a new research project examining how UK banks and other financial services organisations can help people suffering with or are at risk of gambling-related harm.

Researchers from the university’s Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) will now work on a three-year programme to look at the current measures banks have in place to combat problem gambling and what more can be done to help protect consumers.

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, consultant psychiatrist in addictions and director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London, said, “The financial services sector can play an important role in helping create a safer environment for people with gambling problems, for example by making it easier for individuals to limit their gambling spend.”

Talk To Someone Now

You can speak with advisers over the phone or via live chat every day of the year, 24 hours a day. They will be able to listen to what’s going on for you, and can talk you through all of the options available to you for support in your local area, online or over the phone.

Call them on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or open a gambling help online chat.

GambleAware's programme of treatment, education, harm prevention and research are guided by the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, which is defined by the independent Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) and endorsed by the Gambling Commission. The ABSG, the Gambling Commission and GambleAware work together under the terms of an agreement in place since 2012.