GambleAware warns of “perfect storm” for gambling harms this winter

The GambleAware charity has warned the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and significant hype around the upcoming Fifa World Cup could create a “perfect storm” for gambling harm and has launched a new campaign to ensure fans are protected.

According to a recent online survey by Opinium of 2,000 British football fans, 61% said there are too many gambling ads during the World Cup and other international tournaments.

A further 28% said they were anxious about how much they might lose while betting during the World Cup, while 56% said it is easy to lose more money than expected.

GambleAware said this anticipated betting activity, coupled with the rising cost of living in Great Britain, and the fact the tournament is taking place near the high-cost Christmas period rather than its traditional summer slot, could lead to financial problems for fans.

As such, the charity has linked up with the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and a number of former footballers to run a new campaign and raise awareness of the early warning signs of gambling harms.

The charity will also offer fans advice on how to enjoy the tournament without experiencing "Bet Regret", a "sinking feeling" that GambleAware said people may experience after making an impulsive bet, often when drunk, bored or chasing losses.

“This should be an enjoyable time for all football fans, but with the sheer volume of football and the amount of betting ads, it can be easy to get carried away with betting – and we can see that many fans are already feeling anxious about this,” GambleAware chief executive Zoë Osmond said.

“As the cost of living-crisis bites and people feel the pinch in the run-up to Christmas, this could create a ‘perfect storm’ where fans resort to gambling as a way to cope. This can have the opposite effect, both financially and in terms of mental health.

“There are lots of ways to avoid Bet Regret – the sinking feeling you get after making a bet you wish you hadn't – from deleting apps, to setting a limit. These steps can help fans enjoy the football this winter without feeling stress or anxiety around gambling.”

Gambling minister Paul Scully also backed the campaign. He said: “I welcome this campaign from GambleAware to help raise awareness of practical actions people can take to avoid gambling-related harms.

“We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to ensure they are fit for the digital age, including considering the evidence on gambling advertising and marketing."

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