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Fears for increase in harmful gambling among women as cost of living bites

A charity fears an increase in harmful gambling among women owing to the cost-of-living crisis (Alamy/PA)
A charity fears an increase in harmful gambling among women owing to the cost-of-living crisis (Alamy/PA)

The rising cost of living is expected to lead to an increase in harmful gambling among women as they try to supplement their household income, a charity has warned.

GambleAware said nearly one in four women (24%) aged 18-49 who gamble expects to gamble more in the coming months due to the cost-of-living crisis, with 12% already turning to gambling in an attempt to increase their income.

A fifth of women (21%) are also already experiencing health challenges such as stress and anxiety due to gambling, a survey for the charity suggests.

It fears this will increase over the coming months, with winter already associated with a spike in traffic to gambling websites among women.

In response, the charity has launched a prevention campaign targeting women to raise awareness of the support available for those who may be struggling.

The campaign challenges the stigma around women who gamble, encouraging them and their loved ones to spot early warning signs.

The survey of more than 1,600 women who gamble found that one in three (32%) would be reluctant to speak to a family member about concerns over their gambling, with nearly half (49%) of these women stating shame as a key barrier.

Some 63% felt women’s gambling is seen as less acceptable than men’s, with one in five (19%) already hiding or downplaying their gambling.

GambleAware chief executive Zoe Osmond said: “As financial hardships accelerate amid the cost-of-living crisis, and the number of women gambling online increases, we are concerned it is creating a perfect storm which may lead to a rise in the number of women experiencing gambling harm.

“We must break down the pervasive stigma that prevents too many women from seeking out vital support.

“If you are worried about your gambling or are starting to lose track of time, spending more than you can afford or hiding your gambling from others, please don’t hesitate to visit BeGambleAware.org for free confidential support, or call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133.”

Opinium surveyed 1,606 women online who had gambled in the previous month between August 11-18.