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UK News

Christian gambling campaigner calls for gov’t intervention as cost of living crisis pushing women to gamble more

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian campaigner on gambling regulation has urged women to seek help if they’re struggling with gambling.

Rachel Lampard, with the Joint Public Issue Team, which works with churches on public policy issues, told Premier there is usually a lot of shame attached to women who gamble.

“I think that a lot of women sometimes do feel a particular added layer of stigma because gambling does take you away from your family and takes money and time away from your family. And we, in particular, feel that that's where they need to be and gambling may be an additional barrier for them.”

Lampard was commenting after research published by Gamble Aware on Thursday found that out of 1,6000 surveyed, a quarter of women aged 18-49 who gamble are expecting to gamble more in the coming months due to the cost-of-living crisis, with one in ten reportedly already having turned to gambling in an attempt to supplement household income.

The charity, which provides treatment and advice for people who are struggling with harm related to gambling, has started a new awareness campaign after its research also showed one in five are already experiencing health challenges such as stress and anxiety due to gambling.

Lampard said: “By and large, we often see gambling as going into a casino or going into a betting office or, or quite often male environments like that. Where women often gamble at home, they will gamble online. And the kind of gambling they do is not very different from the kind of free-play games that many people will be playing on their phones or on their computers. They're very kind of innocent looking, very familiar social kind of games, but they are gambling, and women will often kind of end up being sucked into that kind of gambling.”

She applauded churches for offering help with gambling-related issues with support groups and debt advice centres. However, she urged the government to enforce stricter gambling rules to protect vulnerable people.

“There are many ways that the government could help gamblers. So for example, through tightening up on advertising, through requiring the providers of gambling, the gambling operators, to look at whether people can actually afford to gamble the amount that they are gambling.

“Churches, for a long time, have been engaging with government and regulators to say that we need more protections for people who are gambling and more responsibility and expectations from gambling operators who are making money out of people who are struggling with gambling, debt, and gambling-related harm.”

Listen to Premier’s interview with Rachel Lampard here:

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