- New study shows members of the LGBTQ+ community are at a higher risk of gambling harm
- Life stressors, such as discrimination, are major drivers of gambling and gambling harm among LGBTQ+ people
- Providing targeted support must be prioritized by the government and gambling operators
A new study has found LGBTQ+ people are more prone to experiencing problem gambling and this highlights the need for targeted support and treatment for this sector of the population.
According to the new research titled “How to Create Safer Online Gambling” conducted by the Gambling Research Group at Bournemouth University, some members of the LGBTQ+ community see gambling as a way to cope with different life stressors, including discrimination, stigma, and mental health issues.
Over Half of LGBTQ+ People in UK Experience Gambling Harm
The key findings of the research were discussed in a guest blog on YGAM’s website by Dr. Reece Bush-Evans. He is one of the members of the Gambling Research Group at Bournemouth University and a Lecturer in Psychology.
The survey, which looked at the main drivers of gambling and gambling harms within the LGBTQ+ community, covered 321 LGBTQ+ adults across the UK. Of those who gamble, 67.3% experience some level of harm, with 14.3% exhibiting signs of problem gambling. This shows that they are at a higher risk of gambling harm than the general population, based on a 2021 report by YouGov.
LGBTQ+ people turn to gambling to escape from life stressors, increasing their vulnerability to gambling harms. The majority of those surveyed (71%) revealed they have been discriminated against and harassed at some point in their life and many resorted to gambling to deal with distress arising from such negative experiences.
Over half of those surveyed (53%) admitted to having three or more gambling accounts that they use on a regular basis. Sports betting, slot machines, and lottery are the top gambling products for the LGBTQ+ community. 49% said they feel regret after gambling and a further 41% said they incur more losses than expected.
Tailored Support Needed for LGBTQ+ Community
The survey also found that existing gambling support services fail to accommodate the unique needs of LGBTQ+ people. Hence, there is a need to introduce tailored support for them which should be treated as a top priority by the government and gambling operators.
The research recommends that gambling operators provide tailored training to staff to support all marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ+ community. Having on board trained support people from the LGBTQ+ community will be a big help as they already know the factors driving their co-members to gamble.
Additionally, further research must be conducted on how life stressors can lead to problem gambling, and operators must ensure safer gambling messaging applies to all groups.