BAME female gamblers more likely to suffer gambling harm

16 July 2020

New research on women and gambling in Great Britain shows that female gamblers from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background are over-represented among those classed as ‘high risk’.

UK gambling industry charity GambleAware has published the findings of a survey which discovered that 35% of female gamblers who experience high levels of harm and have a Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score of 8+ came from a BAME background. This compares to just 12% of the overall female population.

The poll of around 7,500 women in England, Scotland and Wales found that 8% are considered ‘affected others’ who experience harm as a result of someone else’s gambling. Making up 16% of that group, those from a BAME background were again over-represented.

The study, which was conducted by YouGov, is one of a series commissioned to review the current need, demand and use of gambling treatment and support in England, Scotland and Wales.

“This research indicates that women, particularly in the capacity as an affected other, experience gambling harms in different ways to men and this report is an important first step in understanding those differences,” said Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware.

“This research was commissioned to help treatment providers, such as those operating via the National Gambling Treatment Service, address any barriers people may face when it comes to accessing help and support for their gambling and it is essential that services are flexible and meet the needs of individuals.”

Researchers also found that women are more negatively impacted by the gambling of a close family member than men. For example, 35% of female affected others, compared to just 9% of male affected others, are negatively affected by the gambling of a spouse or partner.

The study also looked at treatment and support for women gamblers and found that a higher proportion of women than men cited stigma as a reason for not receiving treatment.

Among those who did not want treatment, advice or support to help them cut down their gambling, two in five (39%) female problem gamblers said feeling embarrassed or not wanting people to find out about their gambling was a key barrier to accessing treatment, support or advice to help cut down on their gambling, compared to just over one in five (22%) male problem gamblers.

The research was carried out in the second half of 2019, with an initial random group followed by a targeted survey of gamblers with some level of problem or risk, and ‘affected others’ in phase two. The PGSI was used to determine whether someone was a ‘low risk’ gambler (PGSI score of 1-2), a ‘moderate risk’ gambler (PGSI score of 3-7) or a ‘high risk’ gambler (PGSI score of 8+).

Anna Hemmings, chief executive of problem gambling funding body GamCare, said: “This report has highlighted not only the challenges that need to be overcome, but also the opportunities available to service providers to help increase take-up of treatment and support to help reduce and prevent gambling harms among women.

“Across our treatment network, in line with the National Gambling Treatment Service, we are working with women to better understand the barriers they may face when it comes to seeking advice or help for their gambling, or experience as an affected other, so that we can continue to ensure they have access the services they need, regardless of their gender or background.”

Earlier this month, following the return of live sport, GambleAware launched two new initiatives to raise awareness for its Safer Gambling Campaign and the National Gambling Treatment Service.