According to GamCare, a leading independent UK gambling support provider, over the last five years, there has been a marked rise in the gamblers number looking for support with problems involving online slots.
Among those who openly discussed and identified problems with gambling on the National Gambling Helpline, administered by GamCare, a notable 60% acknowledged that slots constituted a primary area of concern. This percentage marks a substantial rise from the 34% recorded in the period from 2018 to 2019.
These findings have emerged during a period when the UK is soliciting feedback regarding the potential implementation of max betting limits for online slot machines. Worryingly, the data reveals that a striking 73% of all individuals who contacted the helpline in the past year reported encountering difficulties connected to iGaming.
Additionally, the data underscores a noteworthy shift in the landscape of gambling-related challenges over the span of five years. The number of individuals reporting issues with betting exchanges has witnessed a remarkable surge, climbing from a modest 0.3% to a substantial 7.6%. Concurrently, those contending with challenges tied to online financial markets, which encompass cryptocurrencies and high-risk trading platforms, has experienced a significant rise from a minimal 0.02% to 2.17%.
Conversely, there has been a decline in the number of individuals facing real challenges with online sports wagering, decreasing from 34% in 2018-19 to 20% in the 2022-23 period.
Colin Walsh, GamCare Lived Experience Manager, underscores:
The most severe damage from gambling, according to a persistent myth, results from horses or sporting events wagering. During the last 5 years, we have noticed a larger trend in which people frequently start their gambling journeys with these events before moving on to other gambling forms. Monitoring both money and time spent in these domains becomes increasingly challenging. The data unequivocally demonstrates that, for a substantial segment of individuals reaching out to the Helpline, online slots have now assumed the foremost position as their primary concern.
Drawing from his personal practice and that of his network, Colin Walsh acknowledges the formidable nature of this particular gambling type and the feeling it can generate when one becomes entangled in a detrimental cycle. Nevertheless, he also emphasizes that overcoming such difficulties are feasible and that there is readily available, cost-free assistance for anyone grappling with these issues.