After a long break due to coronavirus, competitive top-flight football in England is back on our screens. From Wednesday 17th June, there will be at least 8,280 minutes of Premier League football played across the remaining 92 games, and every fixture will be broadcast live across either Sky Sports, Amazon Prime, BT Sport or the BBC.
The return of elite English football will be welcomed by millions across the world, let alone the UK, but this does present an opportunity for gambling problems to resurface for those who associate live sports with the temptation to gamble.
PayPlan supports thousands of people every year with debt, including gambling losses. They work closely with problem gambling support charity, GamCare, to ensure their advisers offer effective free debt advice and managed repayment plans.
Who can have a gambling problem?
The simple answer is…anybody. No matter what your background, you can be harmed by gambling. That’s why it’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you have any worries about gambling, not only from friends and family but from expert support agencies. The earlier you find support, the less likely it is that the problem will get out of control.
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 / survive
- Get some excitement
- 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 as to why you or somebody you know is gambling as this can help when it comes to discussing any potential problems.
How to spot the signs of problem gambling
It can be difficult to spot the signs of a gambling problem and many people keep their feelings to themselves. The following traits could indicate that somebody is struggling with gambling:
Gambling can cause anger if someone becomes frustrated about losing money, or are letting gambling negatively affect other areas of their life. This can sometimes spill out into arguments with friends and family members who are trying to offer support, so it’s worth understanding this and trying to offer help if you feel somebody has a problem with gambling.
It can be hard to admit that you have a gambling problem or addiction, and this can cause feelings of shame or fear when it comes to speaking to others. Some people may choose to isolate themselves from others, so they don’t have to face up to the reality of their problem. It’s worth checking on people who may be keeping themselves away from others to make sure they have the support network needed to start a conversation.
Gamblers who are struggling to control their habit may ask others for money, including friends, family or even payday lenders. Borrowing from somebody you know can cause tension if the money is lost and not repaid, especially if someone is not 100% truthful about where the money has gone. This can result in a debt problem if you cannot pay back a lender on time.
Understand gambling advertising
Gambling advertising is everywhere, particularly in the lead up to major sporting events. The influence it can have on people by pushing promotional offers is damaging to so many. There has been recent talk around banning advertisements all together, which could help problem gamblers.
GamCare has found that the people they speak to in recovery find the volume of gambling advertising unhelpful. To support people who are at risk of being affected by these types of ads, they have written a blog on the best ways to reduce the volume of gambling ads you see online and via marketing communications.
The Betting and Gaming Council, which represents gambling companies, has implemented several measures to protect against problem gambling during lockdown. A spokesperson said:
“With the return of some sports, the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on TV advertising during live sport will remain in place and we have further committed that 20% of all advertising will be safer gambling messaging. “This is in addition to implementing a ban on gambling with credit cards, new strict age and ID verification checks and providing additional funding for research, education and treatment.”
Gambling and debt
PayPlan works closely with GamCare to allow problem gamblers to get a consistent standard of support from organisations when they find themselves in gambling-related financial harm.
In many cases, problem gambling can lead to financial difficulties. This could be anything from having to cut back on spending, to someone finding themselves in problem debt. Because of the external relationships PayPlan and GamCare have built up over the years, organisations know where to direct their customers if they are experiencing a gambling related debt problem. You can get free debt help from PayPlan today.
Get gambling support
GamCare operates the National Gambling HelpLine, providing information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms.
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, says: “With lockdown easing, people have the chance to look up and take stock, to deal with the issues that may have been put to one side. We know that addictions, and gambling problems specifically, can be aggravated by feelings of isolation and distress that have been so prevalent through lockdown, and the return of live sport may aggravate these issues further. We want people to know we are here to help and ready to listen whenever they are ready to talk.”
Advisers are available 24 hours a day on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org.uk. They also offer a range of free treatment across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as a moderated Forum and daily chatrooms so that people can speak to others experiencing similar issues and seek support.