"There’s a problem, but people don’t want to talk"
Gambling addiction is an overlooked topic within British Asian communities and not much spotlight is put on the issue at hand.
Visiting a casino, buying scratchcards or even online games make gambling much more accessible than ever before.
From slots to sports or even political matters means the public can bet on almost anything.
With such a wide variety of things to stake money on, gambling addiction is increasing more than ever.
According to the drug rehab centre, Providence Projects:
“In the UK it is estimated that approximately 430,000 people are suffering from compulsive gambling.
“This number has grown dramatically over recent years and can be attributed to a variety of factors.”
Some of the factors contributing to compulsive gambling are:
- Economic crisis.
- Accessibility of betting shops on high streets.
- Marketing of betting companies.
- Presence of mobile and digital gambling platforms.
Whilst it’s true that mild forms of gambling can be fun or a hobby, it can quickly grow into a compulsion and lead to debt, emotional distress and mental problems.
This also covers those in British Asian communities. Gambling in general is quite taboo, therefore any form of compulsion towards it is rarely acknowledged or discussed.
Not only does this force people to hide their need for help but attaches a level of shame and embarrassment to the problem.
So, DESIblitz has compiled a list of organisations that can help British Asians with gambling addiction in order to seek the support they need.
ARA Recovery For All
ARA Recover for All and Beacon Counselling Trust have introduced the Breaking the Sharam project to specifically help those from South Asian backgrounds.
Statistics indicate that British Asian gamblers are five times more likely to develop gambling addiction than those from white backgrounds.
However, the project’s manager Suhayl Patel has introduced this new scheme in order to help those affected.
ARA offers free and non-judgmental counselling to addicts and works in mosques and schools to help shed a light on gambling and the issues related to it.
Speaking on the initial steps, Patel said:
“I do the initial intervention and I would speak to somebody multiple times to try to support them initially – whether it’s the affected ‘other’ or the gambler.”
He later added:
“If you go into the betting shops you will definitely find a lot of Bangladeshi or Pakistani men.”
“We know that anecdotally there’s a problem, but people don’t want to talk.”
After a referral, individuals can see a qualified therapist for up to 12 free sessions.
The project also offers CBT, additional NHS support and young people services as well.
Specifically helping those from South Asian backgrounds means the organisation understands cultural issues and can aid accordingly.
Find out more here.
BeGambleAware is one of the most popular gambling addiction organisations in the UK.
Helping millions, it actively works with betting companies to help promote a safe and controlled environment for users.
However, it also provides information to help people make decisions on their gambling.
It offers information on safer gambling, how to recognise risks and how to spot a problem in others such as family or friends.
Their website also has incredible resources to instantly help those in need.
Offering a 24-hour helpline, live chat assistance, and directory, BeGambleAware can assist in numerous ways.
They also offer tools for individuals to use on themselves like self-assessment tests, gambling-blocking software, budgeting help, and self-exclusion.
To get the most out of their support, visit their website here.
GamCare is one of the leading providers of information and support for anyone harmed by gambling.
Encouraging an effective approach, GamCare provides universal access to effective tools, advice, care and treatment.
They have a range of resources that cater to different situations that individuals find themselves in.
Whether this is mild concerns over gambling or seeking full treatment for addiction, they can help with it all.
They operate the 24-hour National Gambling Helpline where users can talk to advisors in a protective space.
They also have confidential live chats, private emotional support, and face-to-face services across the UK.
However, reaching out can be tough. So, GamCare also has forums and chatrooms where the public can share their experiences with others to create an understanding community.
Likewise, they help individuals track their steps with recovery diaries so people don’t lose track of their progress. It also serves as a reminder of how far they have come.
Their website also has a recovery toolkit with courses, software, and management techniques.
Explore more of their resources here.
Created by two men in 1957, Gamblers Anonymous prides itself on following certain disciplines to eradicate gambling addiction.
According to their website, the founders of the organisation found that:
“In order to prevent a relapse, it was necessary to bring about certain personality changes within themselves.”
This then applies to everyone who uses the organisation.
Gamblers Anonymous is more of a self-described “fellowship” where men and women can openly share their experiences with each other to solve their common problems.
In order to do this, they host different meetings across the UK so people from different areas have access to their support. These include:
- Main meetings: compulsive gamblers help each other through their difficulties without counsellors or professionals.
- Mixed meetings: these are the same as main meetings but with family and friends.
- Newcomers meetings: these are ideal for those just starting their recovery process.
- Steps meetings: these are suited for those who have abstained from gambling for a period of time and help them stay focused.
- Women-preferred meetings: these are similar to main meetings but are focused on women.
- Open meetings: gamblers gather with friends and families to receive recognition for their progress.
With such a number of intimate settings and meeting types, Gamblers Anonymous is perfect for British Asians to explore.
It allows them to get support from and with others which they wouldn’t normally be able to do in their own communities.
Find out more about these meetings and how they can help here.
Operating for over 50 years, Gordon Moody are driven by a passion to help the most severely affected by gambling addiction.
Aiming to help people reclaim and rebuild their lives, Gordon Moody offers supportive environments, therapy, intervention and counselling.
As well as self-assessment tests and tools for family and friends, Gordon Moody also have other helpful resources.
They have residential treatment specifically for both men and women.
Here, they provide an intensive programme for people with addiction and the specialist centres allow individuals to fully focus on their needs.
They also have a retreat and counselling initiative which combines a short-stay residential with at-home counselling support.
Likewise, they also provide aid after treatment as well with outreach support, gambling therapy and support from other organisations.
Combining one-to-one meetings, group therapy and independent tasks, Gordon Moody can help people towards a more fulfilling and stable life.
See more of Gordon Moody here.
Whilst these organisations host similar methods towards gambling recovery, they also have different techniques to cater to different individuals.
Meetings, private residency and confidential helplines are all versatile ways to reach those from different backgrounds and situations.
This is especially important for those from a British Asian background where in most cases, they’ll need to keep their recovery process hidden.
But, at least these organisations can help them in the most comfortable and safest way possible.