Number of gamblers seeking help over slot games doubles as the government consults on introducing…

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The percentage of online gamblers seeking support for problems related to slot games has almost doubled in the past five years. Of those who disclosed difficulties with online gambling on the National Gambling Helpline last year, 60 per cent cited online slots as one of the main activities they struggled with – up from 34 per cent in 2018-19, according to data from the service’s operator, GamCare. The findings come as the Government consults on introducing maximum stake limits for online slot games. Some 73 per cent of the 5,660 callers to the helpline last year said they had struggled with online gambling. The proportion of gamblers having problems with online financial markets such as cryptocurrency and high-risk trading platforms has also risen from 0.02 per cent to 2.17 per cent (file image) The proportion of people citing challenges with betting exchanges – sites that allow betting directly against other players – has also increased from 0.3 per cent to 7.6 per cent over the last five years. And the proportion of gamblers having problems with online financial markets such as cryptocurrency and high-risk trading platforms has risen from 0.02 per cent to 2.17 per cent. But the data showed the number of gamblers who struggle with online sports betting has fallen, from 34 per cent in 2018-19 to 20 per cent in 2022-23. Colin Walsh, from GamCare, said: ‘There is still a perception that gambling harm predominantly comes from betting on horses or sports events. ‘In the past five years, we have broadly seen a trend where people often start gambling on these activities but eventually transition into other areas of online gambling, where it can be easy to lose sight of how much time and money is being spent. Some 73 per cent of the 5,660 callers to the helpline last year said they had struggled with online gambling (file image) ‘The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline. ‘I know… how difficult this form of gambling can be, and how isolating it can feel if you find yourself caught in a negative cycle. ‘But I also know that it is possible to get through it.

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