Women and Gambling: Making the Invisible Visible

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2024 National Women's Conference
13 October 2023

Conference at least one suicide a day in the UK is linked to gambling harm.

Durham PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Joy Allen who is the joint national lead on Addiction and Substances Misuse, has spearhead the pioneering work nationally and regionally to look at better supporting the impact by gambling addiction. Durham is here in the Northeast of England and research shows those most susceptible to harm are often concentrated in disadvantaged and deprived areas sadly here in the Northern region we already face serious health inequalities. Research by Public Health England has stated the economic burden of problem gambling on women differ from that of men to amount to more than£1.2billion a year.

Northern Women’s Network invited PCC Joy Allen to speak to us on the effects of gambling from the fact of being the wife, mother, granny, sister etc with a spouse or family member who gambled .

Women are more than often deemed the ones taking on the protector role within their families, they feel the shame and so struggle carrying the debt, despair and hopelessness alone safeguarding their loved ones as the social and cultural pressures differ between men and women., she will cover up the debt or take on extra work to pay towards often spiralling debt within the home On top of this she will balance fall out with partner or children’s behaviour problems linked to addiction of gambling. Which can lead to domestic abuse, homelessness, breakdown family relationships and poverty.

Over 1 million women are at risk of gambling harm according to study by GambleAware this is because the traffic to online casino & bingo sites on smartphones etc made access easier than going to traditional bingo halls and betting shops to add to this is the buying scratch cards and lotteries available across the retail industry.

Conference the stigma of gambling is the main barrier for women seeking support for fear of being judged and the fear to confide in those close to them as gambling is seen as “Acceptable” activity for men but not for women.

Conference there is a lack of widespread awareness , support and help for these women as the services available are just not there or tailored for men (developed for men by men ), it doesn’t matter if its from social services-healthcare -banks justice system and even family courts. Many workplaces don’t have polices or where they do they are vague and more often fall to sickness or performance related or disciplinary actions that miss the issue are addiction on gambling harm

Conference we call upon the National Women’s Committee

1)Work with our services groups to embed good practise in policies and supporting mechanisms to promote health and wellbeing of our women members Gambling and gambling Harm

2)Work with National Labour Link around the toughening of the regulation of sector and tighten controls of the industry practices that directed at women like the pink ads and spa days.

3)Work with LAOS to develop a training awareness package around harm of gambling and support of women by women

4)To report back to National Women’s Conference 2025