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Women's Gambling Harms Prevention Campaign

GambleAware launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the gambling harms women experience, how to spot the early warning signs of harmful gambling and signpost the steps they can take to keep their gambling under control.

Background to the campaign

The issue of women’s experiences of gambling and gambling harms has generally not received the attention it deserves, in terms of research, policy or practice. There is also no pre-existing experience of women’s gambling harm prevention campaigns to build on, anywhere in the world.

As a result, GambleAware developed and launched the first gambling harm prevention campaign targeted at women. Before the campaign launched on 31 January, the following research was carried out: 

A detailed scoping exercise was conducted in 2020, involving a review of published data and research, as well as engagement with many subject matter experts. Following this, several stages of strategic and creative development research were conducted during 2021 to ensure that the communications developed resonated strongly with women who gamble, and women with lived experience of gambling harms. Our approach is informed by the ongoing GamCare Women’s Programme, an evaluation of which is published alongside this research synopsis[1]. 

To contribute to building the research base, GambleAware made a £250,000 grant for new research into women’s lived experience of gambling harms[2] with a consortium comprising IFF Research, University of Bristol and the GamCare Women’s Programme. A research synopsis summarises some of the key findings and insights that informed development of the campaign. 

A second phase of this research builds on the initial literature and insights, exploring the views of women in Great Britain who gamble and experience gambling harms. This phase included a combination of individual depth interviews and a five-day long online community. 

Animations summarise some of the key findings, focusing on the role of gambling in women’s lives, the drivers of gambling for women and how harms can be prevented. 

A research synopsis summarises some of the key findings and insights that informed development of the campaign. 

[1] Summary of GamCare Women’s Programme evaluation; see also https://www.gamcare.org.uk/outreach-and-training/womens-programme/

[2] See https://www.begambleaware.org/sites/default/files/2021- 11/Womens_Research_Programme_Announcement_final_0.pdf

Women's Gambling Harms Prevention Campaign 

On 15 September, GambleAware re-launched the campaign to raise awareness of the gambling harms women experience. The campaign aims to encourage women to look out for the early warning signs of harmful gambling, and signpost to the BeGambleAware website for free support and advice to keep their gambling under control.

Research published in the Treatment and Support Survey for 2021 showed that up to one million women are at risk of experiencing gambling harms, with similar growth in the numbers of women receiving treatment. Additionally, women’s experience of gambling harms is different to men’s: they experience more stigma and shame, they are more likely to say it caused them mental health issues, and they are less likely to access support and treatment.

The evaluation of the first burst demonstrated the impact of the campaign, with key highlights below and the full report accessible here:

  • Digital mentions of keywords relating to female gambling rose to their highest levels for at least 3 years in the 24 hours following the campaign launch, demonstrating that the campaign successfully put women and gambling into the public eye and stimulated discussions around the topic.
  • There was a high level of recognition of the campaign, with over half (54%) of the target audience recognising at least one element of the campaign. 
  • Among those who recognised the campaign, half (49%) claimed to take action as a result of seeing it, demonstrating the strength of the campaign to incite behaviour change.
  • Traffic to the GambleAware website grew by 22% in the week of the campaign launch compared to the week prior, and overall there were 1,407,437 visits over the women’s campaign period.

The campaign is aimed at women who have a low- to medium-risk of gambling-related harm, focusing on those aged between 18-49 who gamble online. The campaign once again launches across PR, TV, video-on demand, radio, social and digital channels. It encourages women to look out for the early warning signs of harmful gambling and directs them to the BeGambleAware website for free advice and support to keep their gambling under control.

The campaign idea brings to life the experience that women have when they’re experiencing early signs of gambling harm: that they’re losing track of the world around them. This has been tested extensively with lived experience groups and the target audience, to positive feedback.  

The TV ad, directed by Thomas Ormonde at MindsEye can be viewed below.

The BeGambleAware website and campaign landing page will include advice and tools for keeping gambling under control, alongside sharing stories of women who have experienced gambling harms and clear treatment signposting for women who may be experiencing more significant gambling harms.  

Robust evaluation of the campaign will be conducted, bringing together campaign tracking, alongside other key data sources such as media metrics, PR metrics and website analytics. This will provide a holistic view of campaign performance, specifically: the exposure and awareness of the campaign; how the campaign engages with audience and how the messages resonate; the impact of the campaign on relevant attitudes and behaviours.

Supporting elements of the campaign

The campaign press release can be viewed here

The campaign will be supported by several external spokespeople. These will include media psychologist Linda Papadopoulos, a treatment specialist, academic experts, and people with lived experience. They will support the campaign by generating further reach and awareness of gambling as an issue women should be aware of. Their support will help instil confidence that there is free support and advice available for those who need it.

As part of the PR activity to promote the campaign, a short film has been produced with PA Media, in which Linda Papadopoulos interviews a woman with lived experience of gambling harms, to hear more about her experiences and highlight the signs to look out for.

Tackling harm together

Tackling gambling harm requires a whole system approach, working in partnership with others.

GambleAware aims to bring together and support a coalition of trusted organisations from the private, third and public sector who:

  • Share a common purpose to prevent gambling harm.
  • Can contribute their expertise and evidence base to provide targeted, innovative and effective help to keep people safe from gambling harm.

There are a range of ways to get involved as a partner:

  1. If you are interested in using the current women’s prevention campaign partner assets in your channels, we’ve made getting involved as simple as possible. You can access a toolkit of creative campaign assets and partner assets that you can share across your internal and external channels. This includes social posts, posters, short and long copy, and a staff briefing.
  2. If you are interested in being part of a network preventing and tackling gambling harm - whether specific to our women’s prevention campaign or more broadly - we would like to speak to you. Please contact us at info@gambleaware.org.

For any further questions about our campaigns or partner coalition, please contact info@gambleaware.org