Skip to main content

New report demonstrates link between racism, discrimination, and gambling harm

New report demonstrates link between racism, discrimination, and gambling harm

GambleAware publishes new report on the lived experience of gambling and gambling harms among Minority communities in Great Britain

  • Report from GambleAware finds that adults from Minority communities who have any gambling issue are 50% more likely to have experienced racism or discrimination in public, compared to those with no gambling issues
  • Using gambling as a coping mechanism to deal with challenges in life is three times more common among Minority communities than among White British people 
  • Participants outlined various barriers to support, including a lack of awareness of support services and perceptions that they would not be able to choose the type of support they received
  • GambleAware to open a new £4.3m funding programme to tackle additional burdens of gambling harm experienced by people from minority religious and ethnic communities

London, 6 December 2023: GambleAware, the leading charity commissioning gambling harm prevention and treatment services in Great Britain, has today published research focusing on the experiences of gambling harms among people from minority communities1 in Great Britain.

The study by Ipsos UK and ClearView Research, supported by the University of Manchester, has confirmed the role that stigma and discrimination can play not just in driving harms, but also in preventing people accessing help and support.

The report shows that people from Minority communities who have any kind of gambling problem.2 are 50% more likely to have experienced racism or discrimination in public, compared to those who do not have a gambling issue (48% vs. 32%). Some participants in the qualitative research described a link between their experiences of discrimination and racism, and susceptibility to gambling harms. These participants pointed to the role of racism and discrimination in exacerbating gambling behaviour, including feelings of social exclusion, reduced employment opportunities and heightened risk of mental health issues.

The report also shows that people from Minority backgrounds who gambled are three times more likely to say their gambling is a ‘coping mechanism’ to deal with challenges in their life, compared to White British people who gamble (18% vs. 6%).

Participants in the qualitative study also identified many barriers stopping them seeking support for their gambling, some of which were because they were members of a Minority community. People from Minority communities were less likely than people from the White British majority group to say they would feel comfortable talking to friends and family if they were worried about their gambling,3 and also less likely to say they would feel comfortable talking to a gambling support service provider4 or a healthcare provider.5
There was also a relative lack of awareness in Minority communities of where gambling support was available, and some even had a lack of trust in healthcare providers and support services due to previous experiences of racism and discrimination they had faced when seeking healthcare. 
Some participants in the study also said they felt they and others from Minority groups could be disproportionately influenced by gambling marketing and advertising. They noted that having limited understanding about the risks involved in gambling could have made them more susceptible to the gambling marketing and advertising they saw.
Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms can affect anyone, but they can be more common and more damaging in communities that face social inequality – such as these minority groups. Fortunately, help is out there. The National Gambling Support Network offers confidential, tailored support for people from all backgrounds. It also does a lot of community outreach to raise awareness and increase early intervention, so that people from all backgrounds know where to turn and can get help before gambling problems turn into an addiction.”
Daniel Cameron, Research Director at Ipsos, said: “The findings from this study increase our knowledge of why people from Minority communities may experience gambling harm. The study shows that the unique experiences individuals from Minority communities face in their everyday lives can exacerbate the drivers of gambling behaviour and increase the likelihood of facing gambling harms."
Wendy Knight, who has lived experience of gambling harm and took part in the study, said: “Looking back, I started gambling compulsively after having issues at work. During that period, I spent a lot of my time and money in casinos as gambling became my way of escaping.
"Also, my parents came to the UK from the West Indies during the Windrush era. Since arrival our lives have been about struggling for money. I think that because of the lack of opportunities in disadvantaged communities gambling seems like one of the few ways we could ever get big money.
“When I started recovery, I found it isolating as there weren’t any other black people there. When I walked into the recovery room it was full of white men, but I stayed because I wanted to recover. Plus, I am used to being the only minority in the room.  
"However, much more needs to be done to make people from minority backgrounds feel comfortable to go to recovery services for help.”
Dr Dharmi Kapadia, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Manchester commented: “This research study has shown that minoritised people facing difficult, and often traumatic, life circumstances such as financial hardship, racism and other forms of social exclusion are at risk of gambling harms. Worryingly, gambling help services are often not seen as trustworthy by minoritised people due to past discriminatory experiences of statutory services. Gambling support services need to work on increasing confidence amongst minoritised groups, including how they organise, advertise and deliver services.”
This latest research builds on a Minority Communities & Gambling Harms: Quantitative Report that GambleAware released in March.

GambleAware will also be opening a new funding programme in December 2023, building on the recommendations from this Minority communities research. A total of £4.3m will available to organisations in England, Scotland and Wales.6 
Anna Hargrave, GambleAware Chief Commissioning Officer, said: “Our new funding programme is a response to research which demonstrated that both women and people from minority ethnic and religious communities face additional burdens of gambling harm as well as barriers in accessing services which meet their needs. Through the fund we will aim to reduce the inequality of experience of gambling harm for women and people from minority religious and ethnic communities.”


Notes to editor

1.    For the purpose of this research, Minority communities were defined as people who identify as a member of an ethnic or religious minority group in Britain or are from a migrant community where English may not be their first language.
2.    Having any level of gambling problems is defined as having a score of 1 or above on the Problem Gambling Severity Index. The Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) is the standardised measure of at-risk behaviour in problem gambling. It is a tool based on research on the common signs and consequences of problematic gambling. 
3.    56% of people from Minority communities said they would feel comfortable talking to friends and family if they were worried about their gambling, compared to 63% of people from a White British majority group. 
4.    58% of people from Minority communities said they would feel comfortable talking to a gambling support service provider, compared to 61% of people from a White British majority group. 
5.    45% of people from Minority communities said they would feel comfortable talking to a healthcare provider, compared to 54% of people from a White British majority group. 
6.    The fund is designed to tackle the additional burdens of gambling harm and inequalities experienced by people from minority religious and ethnic communities, and women, and to build on recommendations from research published earlier this year. For more details of GambleAware’s commissioning activities, visit GambleAware’s website

About the research

  • To date, there has been very limited research conducted that investigates the differences in gambling and gambling harms between Minority and White British Majority groups. This research was part of a dedicated grant awarded by GambleAware to Ipsos, the University of Manchester and ClearView Research to address this challenge. 
  • A survey of 2,999 (1,220 Minority and 1,779 White British Majority) adults aged 18+ across England, Wales and Scotland completed the survey between 19th and 25th May 2022. This data has been collected by the Ipsos UK KnowledgePanel, an online random probability panel which provides gold standard insights into the UK population, by providing bigger sample sizes via the most rigorous research methods. Data are weighted by age, gender, region, Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile, education, ethnicity and number of adults in the household in order to reflect the profile of the UK adult population. All polls are subject to a range of potential sources of error. Full sample breakdowns are available in the quantitative research report.
  • Qualitative research conducted by Ipsos involved two rounds of a week-long app-based diary style task using Ipsos AppLife with 25 individuals from Minority communities who reported gambling behaviour. These took place between August 2022 and March 2023. In addition, two rounds of longitudinal depth interviews with 21 people who self-reported experiencing difficulties with gambling and/or self-reported being affected others of those who were experiencing difficulties with gambling were conducted in October-December 2022, and in May-June 2023.

About Wendy Knight

Wendy is 51 years old and is from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. She moved from gambling socially to gambling compulsively in 2013 after experiencing issues at work, ending up spending a lot of time in casinos. In June 2019 she went to her first Gamblers Anonymous meeting and has now been in recovery for four years. Wendy worked at a senior level in Bradford, Leeds and Halifax Local Authority Children’s Services from 1995 to 2014, then started her own business in 2014. Wendy’s vision is to speak on the global stage about gambling related harms particularly in relation to underrepresented groups and to improve developmental outcomes for children and young people.

About GambleAware

  • GambleAware is the leading independent charity (Charity No. England & Wales 1093910, Scotland SC049433) and strategic commissioner of gambling harm education, prevention and treatment across Great Britain to keep people safe from gambling harms. 
  • GambleAware commissions the National Gambling Support Network (NSGN) which provides, free confidential treatment for almost 7,000 people, as well as the National Gambling Helpline which takes around 44,000 calls a year. 
  • The charity is independent and evidence-based, with a robust governance process in place to ensure the industry has absolutely no input or influence on our work.
  • Gambling harms can affect anyone, and not just those who gamble, but also their families and communities. These harms particularly affect communities that already face inequality.  

Related articles

Related resources

Cover of the "GambleAware Open Code Statement"

GambleAware Open Code Statement

GambleAware has adopted an open research model to ensure that the research it funds will be transparent and accessible to achieve the greatest impact while ensuring the highest confidence in commissioned work.