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Gambling among adults from black, asian and minority ethnic communities

Research finds minority ethnic communities are disproportionately impacted by gambling harms and have a higher demand for treatment and support

  • Research conducted by YouGov shows one in five (20%) Black, Asian, and minority ethnic1 adults surveyed experience some problems associated with their gambling (a PGSI score of 1+), compared with 12% of white adults. Similarly, of those surveyed, seven per cent of adults in minority ethnic communities are classified as ‘problem gamblers’ (PGSI 8+), compared to two per cent of white adults.
  • The study commissioned by GambleAware finds demand for treatment is higher among people from minority ethnic communities who are defined as ‘problem gamblers’, with three quarters (75%) saying they want treatment, support or advice, compared to 49% of white ‘problem gamblers’.
  • In parallel to the YouGov research, GambleAware has published a review of the international evidence base, titled Disproportionate Burdens of Gambling Harms Amongst Minority Communities: A Review of the Literature, which identifies the need to engage directly with minority communities to understand the drivers of higher levels of gambling harm in these communities, noting a current dearth of such research.

London, 9th December 2020: GambleAware has today published the findings of research conducted by YouGov regarding levels of gambling harm and access to treatment, support, and advice among Black, Asian, and minority ethnic adults. The research is a secondary analysis of a GambleAware commissioned survey YouGov carried out in 2019 and sets out the differences in gambling behaviours between white people who gamble and gamblers from minority ethnic communities, including their differing needs in treatment, support, and advice. The research suggests one in five (20%) Black, Asian, and minority ethnic adults surveyed experience problems associated with their gambling (PGSI 1+), with seven per cent classified as ‘problem gamblers’ (PGSI 8+). This is significantly higher than the 12% of white adults who experience some level of problems associated with their gambling (PGSI 1+) and the two per cent classified as ‘problem gamblers’.

As well as revealing higher levels of harm, the YouGov research also indicates greater demand for treatment among ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities. Three quarters (75%) of ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities say they want some form of treatment, support, or advice, compared with 49% of white ‘problem gamblers’. Potential motivators among respondents for seeking treatment, support, or advice included: knowing they could get help over the phone (25%) and knowing it would be completely confidential and free of charge (both 18%). The YouGov research indicates a higher level of treatment usage within minority ethnic communities, with seven out of ten (71%) ‘problem gamblers’ having reported using some form of treatment, support and advice2 , compared to under half of white ‘problem gamblers’ (46%). However, data from the 2019/20 National Gambling Treatment Service does not reflect the higher levels of demand and usage which are reported in the YouGov survey.

Taken together, these analyses suggest that substantial numbers of ‘problem gamblers’ from minority ethnic communities access treatment and support other than through the National Gambling Treatment Service. GambleAware will be commissioning research in 2021 to build knowledge of the lived experience of gambling harms within different minority ethnic communities, including treatment and support needs and preferences; and will also use insights from this new research to inform additional investment in treatment services. Alongside the work with YouGov, GambleAware has also published a review of the international evidence base to explore what is known about the drivers for the disproportionate burden of gambling harms on minority communities, including minority ethnic communities. The review looks at existing research in this area and highlights a comparative lack of in-depth research in Great Britain to establish the underlying drivers of gambling harms in minority communities, compared to international studies. The international evidence review further supports the need to engage directly with communities and the inequitable contexts in which they live to understand the driving forces of widespread gambling harm, and develop appropriate treatment, support, and advice services that reflect individuals’ needs.

Commenting on the research, GambleAware Chief Executive, Marc Etches said: “The prevalence of high levels of gambling harms among minority ethnic communities, coupled with the significant demand for access to treatment, support, and advice demonstrates the clear need to further strengthen and improve the existing provisions on offer. Services must be flexible, meet the varying needs of individuals and it is vital they are easy to access for all minority groups. This will require active engagement with communities on the ground to understand their lived experiences, and to design services in accordance with these. “GambleAware will draw on the insights from these reports to inform additional investment in treatment and support services to address disparities between different communities.”

Briony Gunstone, Research Director at YouGov, added: “This research shines a light on the disproportionate impact of gambling harms on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities. It also indicates a particularly high demand for treatment, support, and advice, tailored to these affected groups. “The survey highlighted that increased awareness of support would motivate at risk gamblers to seek assistance. It is vital, therefore, to highlight the range of different services available, including telephone helplines such as the National Gambling Helpline, to make accessing treatment, advice, and support easier for gamblers from a minority ethnic background.”

Read the press release here, the full report here and the corresponding evidence review here