New Women’s Chatroom Launched by GamCare



Having a safe and confidential place to chat about something can be extremely helpful. Women who are affected in some way by problem gambling can now pay a visit online to GamCare’s ‘Women’s Chatroom.’


This year has also seen the publication of the UK Government’s White Paper into gambling reform. Many of the proposals are aimed at online gambling websites who are not covered by the 2005 Gambling Act. These include reduced stake limits on games and stricter affordability checks on customers.


The new chatroom opened on Tuesday 18 July with the aim of providing lived-experience support. It’s important to note that it is not just men who are affected by gambling problems. Many women regularly visit casinos or bingo sites. 


Online gambling has been growing in popularity among women in the UK in the last few years. Traditionally, gambling had been male-dominated, but the rise of the new casino websites in the UK such as Pub Casino, Jaak, and mobile gaming apps has made the activity more accessible and attractive to a wider demographic, including women.


The chatroom will also be a great help to those who are affected by other people close to them who are problem gamblers. For example, those females whose partners are finding life difficult because of their gambling.


Rather than becoming isolated and not talking about the problems they face, those using the new GamCare chatroom will be able to discuss just how gambling is affecting them.


Annually the National Gambling Helpline (0808 8020 133) receives calls from over 40,000 people. Of this number 30% of them are female. The decision to relaunch the Women’s Chatroom gives GamCare the opportunity to offer their services to more women.


GamCare accepts the fact that taking that first step to get some help can be “challenging.”  It can be so hurtful just suffering in silence though and bottling up feelings. Some who are affected by problem gambling can feel guilty or shameful about what is happening to them. 


By visiting the chatroom, it will soon become apparent to them that they are not alone in having such problems.


The chatroom gives its visitors the opportunity to be part of a community that is very understanding. Women can talk openly about their experience with gambling without the danger of being judged. 


There is a different theme up for discussion each week every Tuesday between 7 and 8pm. The first week was an introduction: ‘Gambling & The Woman.’  From 25 July, the theme changes to ‘Gambling & The Mind.’  During August, the themes look at ‘Gambling & Relationships,’ ‘Gambling & The Self,’ ‘Gambling & Recovery’ and ‘Gambling & Letting Go.’


There is a trained advisor who moderates these sessions. To get the discussion going they ask a few questions and then hopefully the helpful conversations flow well. Participants do need to register and then the new members will be able to enter the chatroom whenever they wish.


Confidentiality is important and although a username is required, it doesn’t have to be your real name. An email and first name has to be given to GamCare but at no time will the details be displayed publicly. Only GamCare employees will have access to this information.


This isn’t the first time that GamCare has opened a Women’s Chatroom. A trial of such a service was carried out in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


It is important to recognise the fact that it’s not just men who visit online gambling sites and may develop problems. Casino games are popular with female gamblers and many now offer customers the chance to play bingo and lottery games. 


With women’s sports becoming increasingly popular, more females are likely to become interested in betting on matches. Another important factor to consider is how sites identify women who are developing gambling problems and what support to offer them.


Last year GamCare held training sessions for professionals. An evaluation report that was produced by inFocus Consulting produced some more encouraging findings. It reported that 85% of those attending saw an improvement in how they understand gambling harms. This included the task of how to realise whether female customers were having problems with the way they gamble.


A great deal of progress has come via GamCare’s Women’s Programme. This was launched in 2019 with a main aim being to raise awareness and signposting of services that female gamblers and those affected by gambling in any way can turn to for help.


The number of women in the UK who have been contacting gambling support agencies has increased in recent years. Statistics produced last year showed a 6% increase and it’s believed that GamCare’s important work in this area contributed largely to that rise.


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