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EPIC tackling the issues of female gambling addiction

The issue of female gambling addiction was recently brought into public attention after new figures released last week via GambleAware suggested that in the last five years, the number of women in the UK seeking treatment for gambling addiction has doubled, projecting to as many as one million at-risk women currently gambling at potentially dangerous levels

This situation evidently highlights a growing and concerning issue which suggests a wider lack of research into the area of females, problem gambling, and addiction.

EPIC recognise this issue and as well as working alongside partners Teen Tips Ltd and WHYSUP to deliver holistic gambling harm and wellbeing education programmes to school and college pupils and supporting female-only groups in delivering to professional sports organisations across the world like the Women’s PCA, the global leaders in gambling harm minimisation are working to fill and plug the recognised gaps in current literature by conducting further research into females and gambling harm.

EPIC Risk Management has a predominantly female team driving its research and evaluation department and commenting on significantly under-researched areas, evaluation and research manager, Sam Brooks explains:

“One thing we’re beginning to look at is where there are gaps in research; for example, how it affects professional female athletes in sport. There is hardly any research on that. This is an area we’re obviously very interested in, and professional sport is one of the main high-risk sectors we work in at EPIC. So, we’re sponsoring our research coordinator, Anca-Maria Gherghel in doing her PhD in this area.

“There are other under-researched areas and various little pockets that we’re trying to identify, so potentially we can do the research and plug those gaps. That is not only good for us, but it’s informing other organisations as well.”

Brooks expresses her concerns over the lack of industry research into the root causes of problem gambling, also stating:

“The route men have into gambling harm is usually a very different experience to what women have. 

“Men might turn to gambling for initial fun and excitement, whereas women might have other issues and turn to gambling as a form of escapism. We believe there is a lot of work to be done around finding the root causes of perhaps why gambling might become a problem for someone, and the aim of our research is to discover what could actually help predict those issues.

“We are also looking to create more opportunities in the future to work with academic providers because we know that there is a wealth of research and knowledge in academia, and this will add a lot of strength and validity to the data we find.”

Explaining some of the reasoning behind her department’s ongoing studies, Anca-Maria Gherghel adds: 

“Existing research suggests that athletes are four times more at risk of developing a gambling problem than the average person, and there are significant differences in gambling experiences for males and females.

“The rationale behind my PhD is represented by the gaps in the literature. I will be investigating gambling behaviour amongst professional female athletes in the UK playing the three main sports, football, cricket, and rugby, and looking at identifying the potential predictors of problem gambling amongst professional female athletes. 

“I have an undergraduate degree in Football Business and Finance and a background in sports, so I look forward to putting that knowledge to good use through this ongoing research and trust that it will benefit how EPIC can respond to the risk of gambling harm among women. I hope that the results could be used for policy making and changes.”

By undertaking this research, EPIC Risk Management is making a continuous commitment to effect change within the industry. 

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