With responsible gambling week running from 1-7 November, Doncaster Council is making residents aware that local support is available for people who feel their gambling is becoming a problem.
Gambling Commission figures show that almost 50 per cent of adults in the UK have gambled during the past four weeks. For some, it is as simple as buying the occasional lottery ticket or having a bet on the Grand National, but for others it is far more serious and can become a life-changing addiction.
Anne Evans lives in Doncaster and is an advocate for the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM). She explains why she helped to set up the Trust and why gambling support is so vital: “I lost my son, Alan, in 2010 after his gambling addiction became too much and he ended his life. I soon realised there was no support or help for families like me. It’s a silent addiction which can remain a secret until it’s too late. Gambling addiction was not classed as a national medical issue and no treatment was available like it is for other addictions.
"As a result, my husband and I helped to found a thriving charity called YGAM which works to inform and educate young people and those who work with them about the facts and dangers of gambling and gaming and how to gamble responsibly. We fully support Responsible Gambling Week and hope that we can support individuals and families deal with the impact this addiction has."
With advances in technology and the majority of people now owning a mobile phone it’s not just the use of high street outlets that can lead to addiction, almost 20% of people have gambled online in the past month and over 50% of gamblers have done so using a mobile phone or tablet.
Councillor Nigel Ball, Doncaster Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “With obvious links between addiction and mental health, gambling is an increasingly important part of public health and we’re working with local partners to raise awareness of gambling responsibly and the local support that is available in Doncaster.
“As can be seen from the tragic situation that Anne’s son found himself in problem gambling can lead to devastating consequences not only for the individual but also their families and friends.”
To find out more about YGAM, visit www.ygam.org
If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have a gambling problem, contact GamCare free on 0808 8020 133.
For further advice and signposting to other local services, visit the gambling support page of Your Life Doncaster at www.yourlifedoncaster.co.uk/gambling