'A source of income': Concern that Leeds residents could turn to gambling as cost of living continues to skyrocket

As the cost of living increase begins to bite today, concerns have been raised that people in Leeds could turn to gambling as a way of making money.

By Alex Grant
Friday, 1st April 2022, 4:45 am

This concern was raised as charity GamCare and Leeds-born professional rugby player Danny Care announced a team up to highlight the free support available in Leeds for anyone struggling with gambling addiction.

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It comes ahead of ‘National Stress Awareness Month’ which starts today (Friday, April 1).

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It comes ahead of ‘National Stress Awareness Month’ which starts today (Friday, April 1). Picture: Simon Hulme.

A particular cause for concern is the continued increase in the cost of living across Britain with some turning to gambling as a source of added income.

Speaking to the YEP, Bryn Mostyn, Team Leader from GamCare, explained that one of the first things they look at is whether someone is gambling because they need the money.

"There can be a wide range of reasons for gambling addiction but one of the first things we look at is, is gambling seen as a source of income and a way of making money." Bryn said.

"Our teams are fully trained to help people not only with their gambling but the stress and anxiety they might be living with and then from there we can put them in touch with any other services they might. Such as financial services."

Speaking to the YEP, Bryn Mostyn, Team Leader from GamCare, explained that one of the first things they look at is whether someone is gambling because they need the money. Picture: GamCare.

There has been growing concern with rocketing electricity and gas prices seeing energy bills increase by more than 50 per cent.

Leeds City Council also expects to see an increase in its own gas and electric bills by just under £9m next year.

“Every day we see how gambling-related issues, such as significant debt or relationship difficulties, can lead to high levels of stress." Bryn explained.

"It’s not only important for people to recognise the signs that their gambling could be going too far, but also to know that there is free, local support on hand to support anyone through their recovery. We’re here, we’re local and we can help."

GamCare, under its local partnership with the Leeds Community Gambling Service, has helped over 400 people tackle the emotional and physical side-effects associated with gambling in the area since 2019.

New statistics released by the charity also revealed that gambling addiction among Leeds women is 10 per cent higher than the national average, with Bryn keen to emphasise that 'gambling doesn't discriminate'.

Despite being largely seen as a male problem, 39 per cent of those seeking help in Leeds are female. Significantly higher than the national average of 28 per cent.

"Gambling addiction doesn't discriminate against anybody. It can effect people of all ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and it's vitally important we move away from the stereotype." Bryn said.

"The problem with a stereotype is that it can create a barrier where those needing help think they can't speak to anyone. Support from ourselves is available to anybody and everybody."

Figures released by GamCare reveal more men than women come forward in the Leeds area to seek support for their gambling.

Men make up more than half (57 per cent) of service-users whereas women make up a third.

They also reveal that online casino slots are the most popular gambling service in Leeds at 32 per cent, followed by online gambling for sports events (11 per cent).

"It’s so crucial that people in Leeds know how and where they can find help should they be struggling with gambling-related issues." Bryn explained.

"For many gambling is seen as a high. When you work with them they describe that feeling, that rush of excitement and that high can come merely from the anticipation of a result and not just from the result itself."

Over a third (35 per cent) of people seeking help across the city are aged 26 to 35, underlining how young adults can be susceptible to gambling-related harms within the Leeds area.

Recent research commissioned by GamCare revealed that over six million Brits know someone with a gambling issue.

Jack Killingray, a Leeds based Training and Engagement Lead, added: “It is extremely important to educate people across Leeds about gambling and the impact it can have on them and their loved ones.

"It is our core aim at Leeds Community Gambling Service to make sure that the community are aware of gambling harm, the support we offer and know when and how people can access support if they need it.”

Anyone in Leeds struggling or who is worried for a loved one, can seek help via the Leeds GamCare website or over the phone at 0113 388 6466.

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