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Gambling awareness and support

  • Date published:

  • Author: dgodsall

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s gambling, the first step is to ask for help. GamCare are here to support you.

What is gambling?

Gambling is when people risk money or anything of value on the outcome of a game involving chance, such as on scratchcards or fruit machines, or betting with friends.

If you predict the outcome correctly, you win money. If you’re wrong, you lose the money you gambled.

In general, the minimum legal age for gambling in the UK is 18 years old. This applies to online gambling, adult gaming centres, betting shops, bingo halls, casinos, and racetracks.

Arcades (penny pushers, claw machines) are in fact a form of gambling that anyone can play.

There are even some activities that are very similar to gambling, such as opening loot boxes or player packs, which are available in many popular video games, such as EA FC, CS:GO, Fortnite and Roblox.

These can also cause harm if you are not careful with how much time or money you spend on the game.

How can gambling affect you?

Worried that you, or someone you know, may be struggling with gambling or gaming? These are some of the common warning signs:

  • Changes in behaviour (might be distracted, moody, sad, worried, anxious)
  • Becoming secretive or lying
  • Missing school, not submitting homework, dropping grades
  • Unexplained time away from home, withdrawal from friends and family
  • Less involvement with usual activities and hobbies
  • Keen interest in gambling conversations
  • Playing gambling-type games online
  • Asking for/borrowing money from family or friends
  • Unexplained debts or extra cash/possessions
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, or worried about gambling.

Where to find support?

If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s gambling, the first step is to ask for help. GamCare are here to support you.

Young People’s Service: Their Young People’s Service is here to help anyone aged 18 and under from anywhere in the UK. Click here to go to the referral form.

Live chat: Use their free online chat service, which is open 24 hours a day

Helpline: You can speak to an adviser on the National Gambling Helpline (run by GamCare) 24 hours a day for free on 0808 8020 133.

For more information visit the Big Deal website, which has information on gambling and gaming that is specifically for young people.