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Worried about gambling? You are not alone. Here is the help you could access in 2024.

What is Gambling? Gambling is an activity where someone risks money or belongings. There is an element of randomness or chance involved and the intention is for the participant to win something of value.

It is estimated that over half the population of the UK takes part in some form of gambling activity. For some, this can be an enjoyable activity. For others, gambling can harm their physical and mental health, relationships, performance at work or study, get them into trouble with the law and leave them in serious debt and possible homelessness. Public Health England estimates that more than 400 suicides per year may be associated with problem gambling.  Family, friends and work colleagues can be affected by problem gambling too.

Based on 2018 data and depending on which part of the country you live in, Public Health England estimates that about 1 in a 100 people in the UK can be considered as a problem gambler, and that a further 4 in a 100 people are classified as at-risk gamblers, meaning they may experience some level of negative consequences due to their gambling.

Some of the types of gambling include;

  • Gaming: including card games, fruit machines, video-draw poker machines, slot machines, two-up and casino games such as baccarat and roulette.

  • Betting: including horse and greyhound races, football accumulators, other sporting events and elections.

  • Lotteries: including lotteries, instant scratch cards, raffles and bingo.

  • Speculation: gambling on business, insurance or stock markets.

However there are many types of gambling including crypto currencies, online tombola’s, in app purchases for games like Candy Crush and FIFA, and spread or asset betting.

People gamble for many different reasons, some don’t even realise they are.

Gambling can be grouped into categories of:

Social - this includes gambling either to be sociable or because it’s something that one does with friends and family or to impress others.


  • Money - this includes gambling to make money or gambling for the chance of winning big money

  • Stimulation - this includes gambling for the challenge, to compete against others, for a sense of achievement and for the excitement.

  • Recreation - this includes motives related to filling time, relieve tension, hobbies and pass times, fun and relaxation.

Harms can be experienced not just by gamblers themselves. They can also affect their children, partners, wider families and social networks, employers, communities and society as a whole. This is called Gambling Related Harms. 1 in 10 adults in the past year are expected to suffer gambling harm.

The harms from gambling can come from many different sources, you may be facing debt related issues, housing insecurity, employment issues, or family and relationship breakdown. Here at Citizens Advice Stevenage we are here to help you, you can fill in an email advice form or call us on our advice line.  

Where to go if you or someone you know needs to access support


All data courtesy of gambling harms UK, public health England, gambling commission and the children’s commission. with thanks.

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