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18th Oct 2023

Online gamblers seeking help relating to slot machines has almost doubled

Joseph Loftus

Brought to you by GamCare…

The gambling support charity GamCare have revealed that the percentage of online gamblers looking for support over problems related to online slot machines has nearly doubled in the past five years. 

The National Gambling Helpline, which is operated by GamCare, revealed that three in five people who reached out to them claimed that online slots were one of the main activities they struggled with.

This has jumped to 60% from just 34% in 2018-19.

Over the past five years, the proportion of people citing challenges with betting exchanges has also increased from 0.3% to 7.6%, while the proportion of people citing challenges with online financial markets, such as cryptocurrency and high-risk trading platforms, has gone up from 0.02% to 2.17%.

On the flip side, however, the proportion of people who have had problems with betting on sports online has massively fallen, from 34% in 2018-19 to 20% between 2022-23.

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Colin Walsh, Lived Experience Manager at GamCare, explained: “There is still a perception that gambling harm predominantly comes from betting on horses or sports events.

“In the past five years, we have broadly seen a trend where people often start gambling on these activities but eventually transition into other areas of online gambling, where it can be easy to lose sight of how much time and money is being spent. The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline.”

He continued: “I know from my own experience – and the experiences of those in my Network – how difficult this form of gambling can be and how isolating it can feel if you find yourself caught in a negative cycle. But I also know that it is possible to get through it and that there is free help for anyone struggling with it.”

Ellis Platten, a YouTuber who has been outspoken on his struggle with gambling addiction in the past, also took the time to explain how he manages to push away the urges to return to betting.

Platen explained: “Each day I do 10,000 steps for my mental health to not only clear my mind but to also stay away from the urges of gambling which used to be prevalent in my mind. In the height of my struggle with gambling, I went through a phase where I wouldn’t leave the house and instead, I would find myself in a vicious cycle of continuously playing online slots.”

Platen added: “I get reached out to dozens of times each week with people asking for advice on how on to stop or combat the urges of gambling and I urge anyone struggling to check out GamCare and the amazing services they offer.”

GamCare is the UK’s leading provider of advice and support for gambling-related harms and receives over 44,000 calls a year to its Helpline.