GamCare publishes 2006 Care Services Report

GamCare released its 2006 Care Services Report this past week which shows 30,000 people contacted the gambling support charity. That's a rise of about 30% from the previous year.

While some have pointed to the rise in numbers as proof that the U.K. government's loosening of gambling laws have increased problem gambling, GamCare doesn't believe that is the case.

"There is no evidence to suggest the increase in client numbers represents an increase in problem gambling per se," the organization said. "It may equally be that an increasing number of people have become aware of the services provided by GamCare."

GamCare is a registered charity that has become an authority on the provision of information, advice and practical help in addressing the social impact of gambling.

The organization is trying to improve the understanding of the social impact of gambling, promote a responsible approach to gambling and address the needs of those adversely affected by a gambling problem.

The GamCare report outlines the various types of people who've used its services as well as statistics on its helpline, counseling services and partnerships.

According to the report, the majority of the callers to its helpline were gamblers between the ages of 26 and 35. The majority of callers are still men, but the number of women callers rose slightly this year, up to 13.2% from 13% in 2005.

The majority of callers, 30.7%, are calling about betting problems, and the nearest competitors are fruit machines and fixed odds betting terminals with 22.2% and 20% respectively. Poker remains a low percentage of the calls with only 3.7%.

Internet gambling accounted for 14.5% of the calls. GamCare also reported a slight reduction in clients of their counseling service reporting problems from remote gambling.

The GamCare site also saw a 300% increase in forum members where there are now 2,200 people registered. The chatrooms allow for peer-to-peer support and are moderated by experienced GamCare staff.

During 2006, the GamCare counseling service worked with 428 clients and hosted 2,334 individual and group sessions.

"I personally am most proud of the number of people we have been able to help and the successful outcome of our counseling services," said Adrian Scarfe, GamCare head of clinical services. "That proves that we are able to directly improve peoples' lives."

GamCare also helped people through its partnership program. The goal of the program is to expand the availability of professional and sustainable problem gambling counseling across the United Kingdom.

Service delivery across those partnerships in 2006 saw a 42.8% increase in session provision with a total of 919 clients seen and 4,704 counseling sessions provided.

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