UK Gambling Commission has partnered with The Samaritans, a charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, to help problem gamblers.
GamCare will also run National Gambling Helpline 24 hours a day for the next two years. The pilot is funded by the industry through GambleAware.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “This research is based on data from 2007, but nonetheless the findings clearly show a connection between suicide and gambling, something that has a real and devastating impact on people’s lives. Whilst further research and more timely data collection is essential, we are taking further action now to protect people from the risk of gambling harm.
“As a result of this research, the Commission and Samaritans will work together to bolster the existing requirements on gambling businesses to identify those at risk and take action to address and reduce harm.”
The Samaritans would develop a program which would include guidance for the gambling industry and ensure that the gambling operators are complying with regulations and doing enough to avoid risks around suicide amongst gambling addicts.
Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, stated: “There is limited data and research on the link between gambling and suicide and this research is just the start. This report has clearly identified the significant gaps in the data that is currently available, and what steps we should be taking to get more evidence to help improve our knowledge and understanding of the relationship between gambling and suicide.
“It is vital we all know what signs to look out for in gambling addiction, so we can point people in the direction of help as and when they need it. We look forward to continuing to work with Government, particularly the Department of Health and Social Care, and all those involved to promote the help and services available at BeGambleAware.org.”