There’s no doubt that having resources to combat any addiction is a worthwhile cause – there are programs for alcohol addiction, drug addiction, sex addiction and even plastic surgery addiction. There is no shortage of discussion about gambling addiction, or problem gambling, either, as gambling opponents love to use this as an excuse to try to prevent further expansion of gambling legislation. In the UK, which has been on a singular mission lately to curtail gambling activity, there are a number of programs available to problem gamblers to find help. One is GamCare, an independent charity that exists solely for that reason. It has decided to carve out a little time this coming Saturday to open an online chat room session specifically for females who could be affected, directly or indirectly, by gambling activity, but the move seems to be a little out of step with reality.
The session will be held from 7-8 PM (local time) this Saturday because, one could only assume, females with gambling issues only need to be given an hour to talk. According to GamCare, it will be open to anyone who identifies as female and is part of the entity’s daily support sessions, but, if problem gambling is such a large issue, having an hour certainly seems to be nothing more than a token gesture of an attempt to be politically correct. It certainly seems like, with income of over $7.1 million and reserves of more than $1.2 million, it could afford to offer a bigger platform to women.
In announcing the initiative, GamCare states, “Women can be disproportionately negatively impacted by gambling-related harms, which include financial, relationship and mental health issues. GamCare is running this session for any women who are affected by gambling, whether they are the gambler, or a family member or friend.”
GamCare has been around for 23 years, according to its website, but only just recently decided that it was time to launch a dedicated “Women’s Programme.” While several studies have shown that the number of female problem gamblers has been on the rise, it has long been known – at least since 2007 – that it was a demographic that needed attention. On the bright side, at least it’s making an effort now, and adds that it will continue “building a nationwide network of public and third sector organisations that work with women, to spread awareness of gambling harms and it’s many impacts, and how it relates to other issues that women may face.”
There have already been numerous studies, surveys, analyses and more to show that problem gambling is not as widespread an issue as some want everyone to believe. In the UK, those identified as having gambling problems amount to less than 4% of the population – much lower than the rate of addiction for other activity. However, it’s the only one that gets a massive amount of bad press. Steve Donoughue, a gambling consultant and the founder of GamblingConsultant.co.uk, believes that more research needs to be done on gambling addiction, as long as its done by independent third parties so the results won’t be jaded one way or another.