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Research finds minority ethnic communities are disproportionately impacted by gambling harms and have a higher demand for treatment and support

London, 9th December 2020: GambleAware has today published the findings of research conducted by YouGov regarding levels of gambling harm and access to treatment, support, and advice among Black, Asian, and minority ethnic adults. 

The research is a secondary analysis of a GambleAware commissioned survey YouGov carried out in 2019 and sets out the differences in gambling behaviours between white people who gamble and gamblers from minority ethnic communities, including their differing needs in treatment, support, and advice. The research suggests one in five (20%) Black, Asian, and minority ethnic adults surveyed experience problems associated with their gambling (PGSI 1+), with seven per cent classified as ‘problem gamblers’ (PGSI 8+). This is significantly higher than the 12% of white adults who experience some level of problems associated with their gambling (PGSI 1+) and the two per cent classified as ‘problem gamblers’.

As well as revealing higher levels of harm, the YouGov research also indicates greater demand for treatment among ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities. Three quarters (75%) of ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities say they want some form of treatment, support, or advice, compared with 49% of white ‘problem gamblers’. Potential motivators among respondents for seeking treatment, support, or advice included: knowing they could get help over the phone (25%) and knowing it would be completely confidential and free of charge (both 18%).

The YouGov research indicates a higher level of treatment usage within minority ethnic communities, with seven out of ten (71%) ‘problem gamblers’ having reported using some form of treatment, support and advice[2], compared to under half of white ‘problem gamblers’ (46%). However, data from the 2019/20 National Gambling Treatment Service does not reflect the higher levels of demand and usage which are reported in the YouGov survey. Taken together, these analyses suggest that substantial numbers of ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities access treatment and support other than through the National Gambling Treatment Service. GambleAware will be commissioning research in 2021 to build knowledge of the lived experience of gambling harms within different minority ethnic communities, including treatment and support needs and preferences; and will also use insights from this new research to inform additional investment in treatment services.

Alongside the work with YouGov, GambleAware has also published a review of the international evidence base to explore what is known about the drivers for the disproportionate burden of gambling harms on minority communities, including minority ethnic communities. The review looks at existing research in this area and highlights a comparative lack of in-depth research in Great Britain to establish the underlying drivers of gambling harms in minority communities, compared to international studies. The international evidence review further supports the need to engage directly with communities and the inequitable contexts in which they live to understand the driving forces of widespread gambling harm, and develop appropriate treatment, support, and advice services that reflect individuals’ needs.

Commenting on the research, GambleAware Chief Executive, Marc Etches said: “The prevalence of high levels of gambling harms among minority ethnic communities, coupled with the significant demand for access to treatment, support, and advice demonstrates the clear need to further strengthen and improve the existing provisions on offer. Services must be flexible, meet the varying needs of individuals and it is vital they are easy to access for all minority groups. This will require active engagement with communities on the ground to understand their lived experiences, and to design services in accordance with these. 

“GambleAware will draw on the insights from these reports to inform additional investment in treatment and support services to address disparities between different communities.”

Briony Gunstone, Research Director at YouGov, added: “This research shines a light on the disproportionate impact of gambling harms on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities. It also indicates a particularly high demand for treatment, support, and advice, tailored to these affected groups.

“The survey highlighted that increased awareness of support would motivate at risk gamblers to seek assistance. It is vital, therefore, to highlight the range of different services available, including telephone helplines such as the National Gambling Helpline, to make accessing treatment, advice, and support easier for gamblers from a minority ethnic background.”

About the YouGov secondary research:

  • The research was conducted by YouGov on behalf of GambleAware.
  • This research will contribute to a broader scoping exercise to inform potential prevention campaigns and interventions specifically addressing BAME gamblers, as well as building an evidence base and richer understanding of the demographic profiling and treatment support needs of BAME gamblers.
  • The study does not include a specific focus on the relationship between an individual’s gambling behaviours and their ethnic background. The focus of the research is to highlight differences between ethnic groups, rather than explore the reasons for these. 
  • YouGov utilised a two-phase approach:
    • Phase 1 identified gamblers experiencing some level of harm from their gambling (PGSI 1+), as well as affected others, and the overall usage of and demand for treatment, advice, or support among these groups
    • Phase 2 targeted gamblers experiencing some level of harm (PGSI 1+) and affected others only, exploring their views and experiences in detail, including experiences of seeking treatment and support, as well as motivations and barriers to these.
  • Phase 1 was carried out between 24th September and 13th October 2019. Interviews were conducted through YouGov’s online research panel. 12,161 adults were surveyed, including 1,383 BAME respondents. Results were weighted to represent the GB adult population according to age, gender, region, socio-economic and ethnic group.
  • Phase 2 was carried out between 23rd October and 12th November 2019. Interviews were conducted online. 3,001 gamblers and affected others were interviewed, including 279 BAME respondents.
  • Where the report presents findings for a minority ethnic background, e.g. Black African or Asian, these include those of mixed heritage. This is to ensure that base sizes are large enough to draw meaningful comparisons from, and to avoid using an overall “mixed” category which would conflate individuals from quite distinct backgrounds.
  • Analysis by ethnic group in this report should not be taken to imply or demonstrate anything inherently different about individuals based on ethnicity. Rather, ethnicity should be considered a proxy for underlying drivers rather than an explanation in itself.

About the International Evidence Review

  • In parallel to the YouGov research, GambleAware also conducted a review of the international evidence base to provide an indicative study of why harms are more prevalent in minority communities.
  • GambleAware researchers conducted an online search of peer-reviewed academic publications from the year 2000 onwards and identified 60 publications relevant to the scope of this study.

About GambleAware

  • GambleAware is an independent charity (Charity No. England & Wales 1093910, Scotland SC049433) that champions a public health approach to preventing gambling harms – see http://about.gambleaware.org/
  • GambleAware is a commissioner of integrated prevention, education and treatment services on a national scale, with over £40 million of grant funding under active management. In partnership with gambling treatment providers, GambleAware has spent several years methodically building structures for commissioning a coherent system of brief intervention and treatment services, with clearly defined care pathways and established referral routes to and from the NHS – a National Gambling Treatment Service.
  • The National Gambling Treatment Service brings together a National Gambling Helpline and a network of locally-based providers across Great Britain that works with partner agencies and people with lived experience to design and deliver a system, which meets the needs of individuals. This system delivers a range of treatment services, including brief intervention, counselling (delivered either face-to-face or online), residential programmes and psychiatrist-led care.
  • In the 12 months to 31 March 2019, the National Gambling Treatment Service treated 9,008 people and this is projected to rise to 24,000 people a year by 2021. The Helpline received about 39,000 calls and on-line chats per annum. GambleAware also runs the website BeGambleAware.org which had 7.7million page views and signposts people to a range of support services.
  • GambleAware produces public health campaigns including Bet Regret. A Safer Gambling Board, including representatives from Public Health England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and GambleAware, is responsible for the design and delivery of a campaign based on best practice in public health education. The Bet Regret campaign is being funded through specific, additional donations to the charity, in line with a commitment given to the government by the broadcasting, advertising and gambling industries.

See: https://about.gambleaware.org/prevention/safer-gambling-campaign/.