Gambling Commission increases gambling safeguards with Samaritans

  • Updated
  • By Amy McDonnell
Gambling Commission partners with Samaritans

The Gambling Commission has announced plans to work with the Samaritans following published data indicating the link between problem gambling and suicide.

The research, based on data from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in 2007, found 5% of problem gamblers had attempted suicide in the previous year.  

The study also found that one in five problem gamblers had thought about suicide in the past year. 

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, commented: “This research is based on data from 2007 but nonetheless the findings clearly show a connection between suicide and gambling, something that has a real and devastating impact on people’s lives. Whilst further research and more timely data collection is essential, we are taking further action now to protect people from the risk of gambling harm.

“As a result of this research, the Commission and Samaritans will work together to bolster the existing requirements on gambling businesses to identify those at risk and take action to address and reduce harm.”

GamCare, the gambling support charity, is also increasing its National Gambling helpline hours to 24 hours for the next two years to help support vulnerable customers. GambleAware will fund the pilot extension in response to the research.

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, added: “There is limited data and research on the link between gambling and suicide and this research is just the start. This report has clearly identified the significant gaps in the data that is currently available and what steps we should be taking to get more evidence to help improve our knowledge and understanding of the relationship between gambling and suicide.

“It is vital we all know what signs to look out for in a gambling addiction, so we can point people in the direction of help as and when they need it. We look forward to continuing to work with Government, particularly the Department of Health and Social Care, and all those involved to promote the help and services available at BeGambleAware.org.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with problem gambling, contact GamCare via the National Problem Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or through the online support service.

Alternatively, please call the Samaritans on 116 123. All calls are free from any phone and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.