Britain is to have a new, high-profile National Gambling Helpline, accessible to those affected by problem gambling. Anyone whose life is negatively impacted by their use of real or online casinos, sportsbooks, betting shops, or any kind of gambling facility, will be able to call the addiction phone line free of charge and speak to a counsellor.
Expected Launch Date
Right now it's still not clear when the helpline will go live, but the various bodies driving the project have promised to reach an agreement by the end of September 2011. The deal will finance the helpline venture for at least the next two years. The brains and muscle behind the project are: The Responsible Gambling Fund; the GREat Foundation (an industry-led professional fund-raiser); and GamCare (a UK-based gambling addiction support and awareness group).
Who Will Benefit?
It's not only problem gamblers who will receive non-judgemental advice and support from the new helpline, but their friends and family too. Like alcoholism, gambling addiction can take its toll on anyone who loves or cares about the person affected. Friends and relatives of an addicted gambler will be able to call the helpline for advice even if he or she is not yet ready to seek help.
Signs of a Gambling Problem
Problem gambling affects people differently and comes in different levels of severity. There are many signs that gambling has stopped being a hobby and become a dependency. Simply playing too much or being unable to stop playing is one symptom, but many problem gamblers find it difficult to identify this behaviour in themselves. Ask yourself the following concrete questions:
Have you ever lied to anyone about much time you spend gambling?
Have you ever not been able purchase something necessary for yourself or your family because you had already spent the money on gambling?
Have you ever been late to work, or too tired or stressed to work efficiently because of gambling?
If the answers to any of these questions is yes, then it could be a sign that your gambling has become problematic.