Gambling: Christmas

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 10th December 2018.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what additional counselling support is available for people with gambling-related problems during the Christmas period.

Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to make an assessment of the effect of the Christmas period on rates of (a) under-age gambling and (b) problem gambling; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The most reliable source of problem gambling rates is data collected from the Health Surveys for England and Scotland, and the Problem Gambling Survey Wales. This is collected annually, and we therefore do not hold data on the effect of Christmas on under-age or problem gambling.

The most recent report estimated the number of adult problem gamblers in Great Britain as approximately 340,000, 0.7% of the adult population. Headline rates of problem gambling has remained relatively stable at under 1% for many years.

GambleAware, an independent charity, commissions treatment services, including the GamCare National Gambling Helpline and counselling services and specialist treatment delivered by the NHS National Problem Gambling Clinic and the Gordon Moody Association.

The National Gambling Helpline and Netline are open all year round from 8 am to midnight, including all bank holidays. GamCare reports that numbers of calls and contacts are generally low during the festive period, with an increase in the first two weeks of January, in line with experience in other types of support services.

The Review of Gambling Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, published in May, set out measures to prevent and reduce harm from gambling, including strengthening existing protections across gaming machines, online gambling and gambling advertising. It also set out initiatives to improve for treatment and support for those who experience harm, including expanding access to existing services, strengthening the voluntary system for funding and building evidence of what treatment is most effective.

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