The impact of problem gambling and its associated harms have been the focus of several research projects and initiatives. However, a recent announcement by GambleAware sees the charity organization shift its attention to the issue of stigmatization related to gambling.
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The GBP 350,000 grant awarded to a research project entitled “Stigma and Addiction in Gambling: Understanding and Addressing the Stigma-related Harms of Problem Gambling” aims to identify the stigma-related harms of problem gambling and develop targeted interventions to reduce its impact.
Let’s look at the research project in more detail and assess its impacts on the gambler and the broader industry.
Research to Address Stigma and Addiction in Gambling
This groundbreaking two-year project is a partnership between the University of Wolverhampton and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and will be carried out in collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University. The research will be carried out using a mixed-methods approach to gather data from people affected by problem gambling and their families and friends. The project will also involve a review of existing literature on stigmatization related to gambling.
The reality is, there have been limited efforts to raise awareness about how gamblers are faced with stigmatization. Marketing Director and Editor at NoDepositRewards Mason Jones, has agreed with this emphatically, explaining:
‘It’s not enough that victims of gambling harm already have a hurdle of addiction to overcome; there’s also the added struggle of shamefulness and social exclusion. Add to this list mental health challenges, and you’ve got yourself quite a lethal combination. We need to find a way to help such individuals win their battles, and to do this, the right measures and channels need to be readily available to them throughout every step of their recovery.’
Essentially, The research project aims to improve general awareness about the issue of stigmatization related to gambling and the discrimination faced by people across a range of sectors.
Having already established that stigmatization can exacerbate the harm caused by problem gambling, leading to social isolation, financial difficulties, and mental health problems, this project now looks to demonstrate these trends more substantively. The research will also investigate which communities are disproportionately impacted by stigmatization and why, as well as how stigma can intersect and affect people who struggle with gambling in addition to other challenges.
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Ultimately, the project’s findings which will be made available in 2024, hope to help to identify ways to reduce stigmatization and improve support for those affected by problem gambling. Moreover, the initiative will also work to identify the services, interventions, information campaigns and policies required to challenge stigmatization in order to reduce gambling harms for stigmatiZed communities.
GambleAware’s Commitment To Tackling Stigmatization
This research project is only part of the work GambleAware is doing in the area of stigmatization, which they announced will be a major focus for them in the coming years.
GambleAware is also looking to launch a major new behaviour change campaign this year, focusing on reducing the stigma associated with the harms caused by problem gambling.
Last month, they also commissioned an independent evaluation which revealed that stigma remains a massive personal and social barrier to people in Scotland looking to source help for problems related to gambling.
Furthermore, GambleAware also recently awarded GBP 2 million to 10 UK organizations working to promote the long-term recovery of people who have suffered as a result of gambling harms. This funding was part of GambleAware’s Aftercare Funding Programme, which is used to support the delivery of support resources to people in recovery.
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Looking Towards A Brighter Future
At the end of the day, this research grant awarded by GambleAware represents a significant step in tackling the issues related to problem gambling more systematically and holistically. It demonstrates the organization’s acknowledgement that if we are to tackle gambling harms in a sustainable way, we need to look at the problem more broadly and co-opt a wider range of actors in the battle to end the stigmatization and allow those who need support to access it more easily. When the findings of the research project are released, it is hoped that they can better inform those organizations developing targeted interventions for those affected by problem gambling.
Source: Cosmo Politian