Cost of Living Woes Increasingly Driving UK People to Gambling, Charity Says

A stack of gambling chips at the National Gaming Academy in Blackpool.InternationalIndiaAfricaAmid the cost of living crisis gripping the UK, heating bills have soared and food price inflation has hit a record high of 17.5% over the four weeks to March 19, 2023, with people turning to everthing ranging from food banks to various money-saving hacks to make ends meet.The cost of living crisis is forcing people across the UK to resort to gambling as a means of getting the money they desperately need to pay soaring bills, a charity has revealed.Every four in 10 gamblers – 42% – were convinced that rolling the dice, going to a betting shop, or pinning their hopes on winning in the national lottery could be the path to bettering their financial situation next year, a YouGov survey of 4,202 adults commissioned by GamCare showed.These figures referred to so-called problem gamblers – individuals who display repetitive gambling behavior deemed damaging to a person and/or their family, that also interferes with one’s daily life. As for UK adults that were not in the latter category, only 7% thought that gambling could solve their financial issues.Furthermore, in the past 12 months, one in six people prone to gambling “at harmful levels” had resorted to using a warm bank, as compared with 5% of the overall population of Great Britain, according to the poll. Almost 13,000 “warm banks” – in public places like libraries, cafés and churches, have been operating across the UK for vulnerable households unable to afford the costs of heating. The skyrocketing costs linked with raising their children had prompted half of problem gamblers who were parents to cut back on purchasing food or cleaning their clothes, as compared with 20% of the overall parent population, GamCare said.WorldNumber of Britons Turning to Food Banks Skyrockets Amid Cost of Living Crisis, Study Shows19 February, 06:11 GMTAccording to the charity, the month of January 2023 witnessed a record large number of callers on their help hotline. People revealed that the rising cost of living was driving them to spend increasingly more time at betting shops to keep warm, as their homes went unheated. Gambling was also being perceived by Britons on universal credit and disability benefits as a way to possibly cover their bills.© AFP 2023 / DANIEL LEALA photo illustration shows the website of Ladbrokes betting shop, owned by Entain, in London on September 22, 2021.A photo illustration shows the website of Ladbrokes betting shop, owned by Entain, in London on September 22, 2021.The survey also showed that 42% of gambling addicts were inclined to indulge in their risky practices more in the following 12 months as a result of the cost of living crisis, as compared to 6% of the general population of the country.”At GamCare, we know first-hand that gambling isn’t a way to ease money worries, as well as how important it is to address the financial picture to support someone’s longer-term recovery from harm,” Anna Hemmings, the chief executive officer at GamCare, was cited as saying.The survey’s results come as recent data released by the Gambling Commission revealed that there was a surge in people buying national lottery tickets, despite overall gambling levels seen as “steady” in December 2022.© AFP 2023 / OLI SCARFFSlot machines inside Club 3000 bingo hall in Manchester, northern England.Slot machines inside Club 3000 bingo hall in Manchester, northern England.In the United Kingdom, the living cost increase caused by surging energy prices and skyrocketing inflation throughout the country has affected millions of households. Vulnerable families have been struggling to survive on a tight budget. With food price inflation in the country hitting a record high of 17.5% over the four weeks to March 19, 2023, potentially hiking up average annual household grocery bills by 837 pounds ($1,029), as per UK data analytics company Kantar, food banks have become a feature of modern British life.Public sector net borrowing reached a record level for February in 30 years – $20 billion (16.7 billion pounds) – due to financing energy support schemes, the country’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in late March.


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