Gambling canrange from anything to betting on horses, slot machines, buyinglottery tickets and various online games. However, it may also include online betting or speculation on financial markets e.g. trading penny stocks and options etc. This may be a less obviousform of gambling.
Gambling habits can be hard to detect because there are no physical symptoms. The effects of gambling may only be noticed when it interferes with family life such as start causing financial problems, which may lead to stealing money from friends and family or taking out loans to pay gambling debts or to fund the gambling habit. Loans are sometimes taken out without the partner's knowledge. Arguments about finances also increases the risk of domestic abuse. Although, the helpline tends to receive calls from women whose husbands have a gambling addiction, in society the number of women addicted to gambling is on the rise and the Covid pandemic has made matters worse. A YouGov study published in July 2019 found that among women with a gambling problem, around a third (35%) were from a BAME background. There is a perception of gambling as a man's problem, which leads to fewer women seeking support.
Although, admitting having a gambling addiction will be difficult, it is important to take the first step and tell someone and seek help, which should include seek counselling. The National Gambling Helpline provides information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms. Advisers are available 24 hours a day on freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat atwww.gamcare.org.uk.
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