GMA To Open Residential Treatment Centre For Women Gamblers

By opening the first residential treatment centre for women gamblers in 2021, the Gordon Moody Association (GMA) has reaffirmed its commitment to helping women impacted by gambling-related damage.

The centre, which will be the first in the United Kingdom and worldwide, will be located in the Midlands and will provide a special, healthy atmosphere for the annual care of 24 women who are seriously affected by gambling disorders.

Matthew Hickey, Gordon Moody’s chief executive, said: “Gambling is the hidden addiction and hidden further again within that is the story of women gamblers and women who are affected others. There is an absolutely urgent need to change this and the impact of Covid means this is a growing crisis that needs to be tackled with more expertise and resources.

“Gordon Moody Association has been addressing this challenge for a number of years through its retreat and counselling programme, and we now have plans to expand our treatment capacity within the next year to help urgently deal with this growing challenge.

“But we feel this is just the beginning of what needs to be done and we will be arguing for much more capacity to be built and expert therapists to be trained in future.”

The new Gordon Moody programme has pledged to:

  • Be inclusive of LGBT and BAME communities as well as other ethnic and minority groups as the UK Gambling Commission evidences the prevalence of gambling-related harm to be higher among these groups.
  • Set up a residential treatment centre that will initially cater for 24 women with disordered gambling on a yearly basis.
  • Provide support tailored to the needs of women from ethnic and minority groups
  • Offer counselling to the friends and families of the affected gambler

Gamcare, Gamble Aware and Gambling Therapy data collected last year as part of the National Gambling Treatment Service, showed that 30 percent of helpline calls came from women, with 59 percent seeking support for others and 41 percent seeking help for themselves. This is the equivalent of around 9,000 women.

Meanwhile, GMA’s Gambling Therapy website was visited by more than 100,000 people, raising the total number of women’s hits to more than one million. Nearly 90,000 of the total visitors to the site were from the UK, reflecting a 76 percent rise from the previous year.

Annika Lindberg, GMA’s trustee, added: “The number of women gambling in the UK has increased significantly in recent years. The rise of online gambling and the targeting of women with gambling advertising has led to an increased uptake of gambling amongst women in the UK.

“There is little doubt that women suffer even more from the stigma and shame surrounding gambling addiction. Treatment services have historically been geared towards dealing with the behaviours and causes we see in men. “While there will be similarities, there are also distinct differences between the causes, symptoms and drivers of male and female gambling behaviour.

“With the growing visibility of women reaching out for help, there is still work required to ensure that women get the right support, right treatment and right environment to deal with the range of complex issues that need to be tackled in helping them address their gambling disorder.”

GMA will ensure that all women affected by gambling addiction will receive higher quality and more comprehensive care and treatment by opening up this new facility. The women will come from both social and economic backgrounds and will enter a recovery programme that recognises the larger gambling problems effectively.

In a statement, GMA announced that more than 160 applications for the 36 available places were received by its women’s retreat and counselling programme in 2019, highlighting the need for programmes that help and are tailored to women.

In a programme that recognises the larger problems around gambling disorder in women, the new residential centre will see service users connect with those with living experience and use the latest study.

Via sponsorship from Halesowen-based company InTouch Games Limited, a maker of multiple brands in the mobile gaming industry, the centre received core funding.

An InTouch Games Ltd spokesperson concluded: “We are proud and honoured to be working in partnership with the Gordon Moody Association in the development of such a unique and ground-breaking project.

“This is a financial investment in furthering the critical work carried out by Gordon Moody, but it’s also about investing in the safer gambling culture of our whole organisation and raising awareness of our staff, customers and partners about the potential impact of gambling on the lives of vulnerable women and the barriers to treatment that they experience.

“Working with the talented and dedicated team at Gordon Moody is undoubtedly deepening our knowledge and appreciation of issues surrounding problem gambling which, in turn, drives our commitment to do everything we can to protect our customers from experiencing harm.”