'Women and Gambling-Related Harm' – a free online session for West Norfolk VCSEs – Wed 2nd September

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CAN, in association with GamCare, is presenting 'Women & Gambling-Related Harm', a free, online training session for West Norfolk VCSE professionals and volunteers who work with women and families.  The 2-hour Zoom session is on Wednesday 2nd September from 2.00-4.00pm. GamCare’s Polly Johnson will be discussing risk factors, impacts, how to identify a gambling addiction and where to signpost for further help. 

Email jackie.cushing@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk for more information and to book a place. 

Gambling addiction and the scale of the problem 

Most people can enjoy placing an occasional bet, even if it means they lose some money. But some become problem gamblers, where the activity disrupts or compromises their lives and those of their families. Extreme gambling is actually recognised as a disorder by the World Health Organization. In 2016, the Gambling Commission estimated there were up to 340,000 problem gamblers in the UK, with many more individuals at risk, and in the year to March 2019, UK gamblers collectively lost about £14.4bn. The number of gambling-related hospital admissions in England has more than doubled in the last six years to a record high. This includes people whose gambling could lead them to commit crime, and lead to cases of psychosis.  

Problem gamblers are: 

  • 5 times more likely to be male than female 
  • more likely to be unemployed than in work, studying or retired 
  • most likely to be aged 25 to 34 (if male) 
  • more likely to be from a black or other minority ethnic background than from a white or Asian background  
  • more likely to indicate signs of mental ill health 
  • more likely to indicate signs of low wellbeing 


Signs that somebody may have a problem include feelings of anxiety or stress around their gambling habit, betting more than they can afford to lose, and gambling ever larger amounts of money to feel the same ‘high’ as before. Concealment is also an issue. Especially as online gambling is usually solitary, making it easier to hide if a problem develops. 

Given that men are more likely to experience problem gambling than women, it may come as no surprise that 70 per-cent of the callers to the National Gambling Help Line are men. But there are real problems behind the perception that problem gambling is mostly a ‘male issue’. 

Impact of gambling addiction on others 

Women can be disproportionately negatively impacted by gambling related harm, including financial, relationship and mental health issues. Evidence suggests that, for women, emotional distress, experience of trauma, or managing other difficult situations such as domestic abuse, sexual violence or other pressures can make them vulnerable to experiencing gambling problems themselves. These problems can cause a sense of isolation and have far reaching impacts on their families, communities and personal lives - and are often hidden from support services. 

Generally, men are more likely to seek help because of their own problem gambling, whereas women are much more likely to call about someone else’s gambling. For many women, a compulsion to gamble may be influenced by difficult emotional experiences in their past, and gambling gives them a chance to temporarily escape from difficult thoughts and feelings. The implications for this on some of the most vulnerable women in our society – for example, those who have  faced situations such as domestic abuse, trafficking, child exploitation, or sexual violence – mean that they are particularly susceptible to developing issues with gambling. 

GamCare’s work 

GamCare is the leading national provider of free, confidential and non-judgemental information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling, whether that’s the individual, or anyone close to them. GamCare runs a dedicated Women’s Programme aimed at supporting vulnerable women affected by gambling problems. Read more here.  

Email jackie.cushing@communityactionnorfolk.org.uk to book your place on the course.