GamCare calls for improved at-risk employee support ahead of Euro 2024

By Kyle Goldsmith

Gambling support charity GamCare has called upon employers to increase their support for staff vulnerable to gambling addiction ahead of the Euro 2024 tournament.

With Euro 2024 set to begin next week, GamCare has urged employers to open safe spaces for workers to discuss any gambling addiction issues, as well as direct them to appropriate services to encourage support.

GamCare also outlined a five-step plan employers could adopt to support their staff and provoke discussion on gambling harms.

Samantha Turton, head of remote support services at GamCare, says the discrete nature of gambling addiction means it’s imperative to open avenues for at-risk punters to seek help, especially in the workplace.

“Last year we saw steps for more GPs to ask questions from patients around gambling, which is an important step forward,” Turton said. “We believe workplaces could be the next place to create more awareness about gambling and could be a win-win for organisations and staff, with people feeling more supported and engaged at work and organisations benefitting from a happier, healthier workforce.

“In the most severe cases, it can even help prevent against gambling-related crime at work, which can protect both employees and their businesses.”

GamCare’s five-step policy

GamCare’s five measures for employers all encourage the raising of awareness of gambling harms within the workplace.

The first step is the implementation of HR policies to show staff open spaces to disclose gambling addiction. These would be in line with similar policies on drugs, alcohol or mental health issues.

GamCare also encouraged training for line managers to support staff by directing them towards support services such as the National Gambling Helpline.

Additionally, another step is the creation of internal support networks. This would include the reduction of stigma surrounding gambling harms by increasing education on the topic.

With the Euros coming up, GamCare urged employers to be cautious when creating sweepstakes. This is particularly important around key sporting events of the year.

Finally, GamCare noted employers should be aware that gambling harms don’t only affect the gambler. Others may be related to, or friends with, a problem gambler and therefore require different support.

Addiction in the UK

In its advice for employers, GamCare highlighted recent research on the levels of addiction in the UK, as well as the lack of gambling support in the workplace.

For instance, a recent YouGov study highlighted only 9% of people had support for vulnerable gamblers in their workplace. In comparison, 47% said their workplace had mental health policies.

The lack of support is in spite of Public Health England stating 1.6 million people in England struggled with gambling. Last year, the GamCare-operated National Gambling Helpline found work difficulties to be one of the core consequences of gambling addiction.

YouGov found only 28% of problem gamblers would be comfortable with telling their employer about their issues. Meanwhile, 57% would tell friends, while 42% would disclose with family.

Euro 2024 a potential addiction flashpoint

In France, regulator L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has launched a new problem gambling prevention campaign ahead of Euro 2024.

The ANJ stated that nearly €1bn (£851.4m/$1.1bn) could be wagered on the competition. Toluna-Harris Interactive research found 35% of France’s population plan to bet on the tournament.

As a result, the ANJ is calling on players to pay attention to advertising notices outlining the associated risks.

The campaign’s messages will highlight in yellow a “deliberately disproportionate” section on gambling harms. The campaign also refers to the Evalujeu site, where players can evaluate their play and seek support.

“The ANJ wishes to make an impact with its campaign which aims to make people understand that legal notices on advertisements are not only a legal obligation but that they contain stories of players’ lives, testimonials on the risks linked to excessive gambling such as those we receive every day at the ANJ,” said Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, ANJ president.

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