The leading gambling support charity in the UK, GamCare, has published recommendations for lenders as part of its mission to prevent gambling-related debt.

We work closely with GamCare through our referral partnership, to ensure problem gamblers receive a consistent high standard of support from organisations when they’re experiencing gambling-related financial harm.

Someone who gambles excessively can easily find themselves in financial difficulty. This could range from having to cut back on spending to finding themselves in problem debt.

Why might somebody gamble?

Somebody may gamble for several reasons, not all harmful, but it’s important to keep an eye out for the following warning signs within yourself and in others. These can include gambling to:

  • Make money to pay for essentials
  • The thrill of gambling itself
  • Keep up with peer pressure demands
  • Escape from everyday problems

This isn’t an exhaustive list and people may gamble for a whole host of reasons. However, it’s important to be aware of why gambling occurs, as this can help when it comes to discussing any potential problems.

Gambling during the cost-of-living crisis

Gambling companies have said that the cost-of-living crisis is not slowing down betting habits, despite the pressure on household incomes, with GamCare hearing from people who are turning to gambling in the hope to improve their financial situation.

In a YouGov survey commissioned by GamCare, it was found that 46% of respondents were actively concerned about their current financial situation. Anxieties deepened amongst gambling participants, which saw financial concerns rise to 61% of respondents who outlined worries about their financial affairs. 

At PayPlan, 34% of vulnerable clients with gambling-related debts are aged 35-44 while 33% are aged 25-34. Our data shows that 45% of clients show multiple vulnerabilities with 31% claiming gambling had a negative impact on their mental health.

GamCare’s awareness raising within the industry

In June 2022, GamCare facilitated an Insight Workshop to understand how consumers access credit to gamble, and to identify best practices and solutions that may help prevent gambling-related debt in the first place.

GamCare’s Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) programme is a cross-sector initiative to share knowledge, develop resources, and enable organisations to help customers affected by financial harm as early as possible. It’s something we’re really proud to be a part of.

The key findings have been broken down into four categories – responsible lending, creating friction, staff training/customer support and intervention/support. You can download the full summary from GamCare’s latest workshop ‘Preventing Gambling Related Debt’, which details the key insights and recommendations for the lending sector to consider.

Emma Gibbons, Vulnerability Lead at PayPlan, comments: “We’re delighted to work closely with GamCare to ensure that clients coming to us for help with their debts also receive the right support they need if they’re battling a gambling issue too. Through our relationship with GamCare, we’ve been able to develop appropriate pathways into debt advice and regularly carry out training to the wider financial services sector to help them ensure they’re up to date with the latest information and advice.”

If you’re affected by any of the issues raised in this article or know somebody who you suspect is suffering as a result of gambling, contact GamCare on 0808 8020 133, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit Where debt has been accumulated as a result, they’ll be able to refer you to one of our experienced advisers to help them get their finances back on track.