GamCare says it is preparing for a spike in calls from problem gamblers due to a combination of lockdown and a summer of sport.
According to GamCare, the full impact of the recent Euro 2020 football tournament is still unknown, but the charity is expecting an increase in requests for help from gamblers already vulnerable following lockdown.
The group’s helpline advisers have had to call the emergency services for people who had directly related their situation to the Euros, with over half of the advisers having taken calls from at least one recovered gambler who had relapsed during the tournament.
GamCare staff added that people are now going to more extreme lengths to gamble, such as creating accounts in a partner’s name, or using their children’s phones to avoid gambling blocks.
“We know that people who use our services find it difficult to enjoy live sport, especially football tournaments like the Euros, in their recovery,” said GamCare Chief Executive Anna Hemmings.
“With so many sports events over the summer, coupled with the difficulties people have experienced in the pandemic, we’re concerned we may see a spike in helpline calls over the coming months.
“Our latest helpline and treatment data shows online gambling has increased over the pandemic and we will certainly be monitoring this trend to see if it continues as lockdown is lifted.”