Gambling has become normalised. Almost half our adult population gambles, whether that’s buying a lottery ticket, playing bingo or placing a sports bet. Advances in mobile technology now allow people to gamble at anytime, anywhere, and on anything. Sports like football are saturated by gambling sponsorship and we see advertising on TV and across social media.

The GambleAware website shows a high prevalence of gambling harm particularly in the Oxford and Cherwell areas.

Gambling comes with risk of harm, which, at its worst, can have a devastating impact on people’s finances, relationships and mental health. Based on GambleAware data, around 2 million people are experiencing some level of gambling harm, including 300,000 pathological gamblers. More worryingly there are 55,000 children problem gamblers and millions more at risk of gambling harm as a result of someone else’s gambling behaviour (family member, friend, or even a colleague).

The new Gambling Support Service is being delivered by the four Citizens Advice services across Oxfordshire. With the help and funding from GambleAware, the charity is building on its existing work to help all their advisers to feel confident in talking about gambling with their clients. A key part of our work is trying to normalise talking about gambling harms and reduce the shame and stigma that is associated with it.  The more that Citizens Advice can raise awareness and train staff to understand the signs, the more people we can help by signposting or referring them onto specialist services who support people affected by gambling harms. 

Teresa Archer, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire, said: Gambling can truly be a ‘hidden addiction’ and gambling harms deserve to be fully addressed, and support provided. We are concerned that during the cost of living crisis, more people might turn to gambling in the hope of paying off their debts. Thanks to the support of GambleAware, we are pleased to join Citizens Advice across the county to deliver this important service.  We are also keen to build relationships with other organisations working within the gambling harms sector.  We believe that sharing knowledge and best practice across organisations is key to enhancing the work that we all do to achieve our common goal: helping people affected by gambling harms.“

Where to go to find out more about gambling harm

  • Visit Citizens Advice website to find out what to do if you or someone you know might be at risk of gambling harm
  • Contact your local Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire on 0808 2787908
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