Gambling self-exclusion service Gamstop has partnered the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) charity and the RecoverMe mobile health application to launch a new university tour to support students affected by gambling.
‘The Gambling Support University Tour’ will travel to locations across the UK, speaking with students and university staff about the issue of gambling-related harms and the training and support services they provide.
Attendees will also receive specialist information about gambling harm, as well as have the opportunity to speak with trained experts about their own experiences and problems.
YGAM will provide free harm prevention training to university staff, student union officers and safeguarding leads, as well as promote its Student Hub website that provides students with a range of information, advice and guidance on the topic.
Higher education institutions and colleges that have already taken part in the roadshow include Worcester, Central Lancashire, Northumbria, Bournemouth, Sheffield, Lincoln and Stoke-on-Trent, with a further 18 in Scotland visited by the Scottish Gambling Education Network in a similar initiative.
The launch of the tour comes after research commissioned by GamStop and YGAM earlier this year found of the 2,000 students surveyed by Censuswide, 80% had gambled and 41% admitted that gambling had a negative impact on their university experience.
Some 35% of respondents were using money either from their student loan, overdraft, had borrowed from friends or were taking out payday loans to help fund their gambling, while 19% admitted to using their student loan to gamble.
Mean gambling spend for students was £31.52 per week and 18% said they spent more than £50 per week on gambling. In addition, 38% said they gambled at least once a week and 63% at least once a month.
“The Gambling Support University Tour has been a great success and is an important initiative for all the organisations taking part,” Gamstop chief executive Fiona Palmer said.
“Gambling-related harm on our campuses is a subject that is rarely addressed, but for any students experiencing problems with their gambling, self-exclusion is one of the most important tools available, giving them valuable breathing space whilst they seek additional help”.
YGAM director of external affairs Daniel Bliss added: “The popularity of the tour so far shows us that gambling harms is clearly an issue that universities are more conscious of.
“Universities offer support to their students on a variety of issues ranging from alcohol, drugs, and debt. We believe gambling should be given the same level of focus and this tour is helping to increase awareness and understanding.”
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