The UK’s National Gambling Helpline is to open 24/7 as from tomorrow, 1st October 2019. The helpline operated exclusively by responsible gambling charity GamCare and funded by GambleAware, is available on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via GamCare’s web chat facility here.
Providing free advice and support to those people suffering from gambling related harm, whether their own or someone they know, the helpline has fielded in excess of 30,000 calls in the past year.
The helpline which is staffed by advisers from GamCare provide an ear to listen and a voice to chat to, in addition in being able to provide practical advice. The new hours which take effect as of tomorrow, will mean the helpline will be always available, every day of the year, moving forward.
Speaking about the decision to make the helpline available 24/7, Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive Officer at GamCare, said: “It is important that treatment and support services reflect the availability of gambling. As such, we are delighted to be able to extend the hours of operation of the National Gambling Helpline to further support those affected by gambling related harm.
“With the 24-hour nature of gambling, people sometimes feel at their most isolated overnight, when other support services are closed. They will now be able to reach our highly trained Advisers 24 hours a day, who can offer immediate support, advice and referral to our network of treatment services nationally.”
While Helen Garratt, Director of Clinical Services at GamCare, commented: “GamCare provides a wide range of services to people in need, and we are very pleased that the helpline hours can now extend this support throughout the night.”
“People can be trying hard to change their gambling, but the sheer availability of gambling options makes it a struggle. We hope that the new availability of the National Gambling HelpLine will be able to match this round-the-clock activity and offer even more support.”
Marc Etches, Chief Executive Officer of GambleAware who are funding the helpline, said: “GambleAware is responsible for commissioning the National Gambling HelpLine, which is a core element of an emerging National Gambling Treatment Service.”
“Our priority is to keep people safe and to ensure support services are easily accessible. As such, we are pleased to be funding an extension to the helpline’s operating hours, and we will evaluate its performance over time.”
Whilst Tim Miller, Executive Director at the UK Gambling Commission, said of the extending of the helpline’s hours: “The pilot to extend the hours of the National Gambling Helpline is a very welcome step. GamCare’s specialist advisers are now there if people need support at any hour of the day. This change arose out of the input of people with lived experience into research and demonstrates why that continued input is vital.”