Paul Merson's gambling addiction interview triggers “sudden influx” in helpline calls

By Gambling Insider

Good Morning Britain’s interview with former Arsenal and England footballer, Paul Merson, about his gambling addiction has reportedly had a big impact on viewers.

Advisors at the National Gambling Helpline (operated by GamCare) reported a “sudden influx” in phone calls; one caller said “the interview had resonated with him and made him realise that his own gambling was problematic” while another one remarked the interview had “hit home."

Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, said: “The sudden influx of calls we have received following Paul’s interview highlights how important it is to speak up on issues around gambling, to help tackle the stigma and ultimately to reduce gambling-related harm. We know how difficult it can be for people to speak publicly about gambling – their own or someone else’s – and it is encouraging to see public figures such as Paul come forward on Good Morning Britain and to see the positive influence it can have on others seeking help.

“We urge anyone who is struggling with gambling to contact us on the National Gambling Helpline. We want you to know we are here for you; we understand and we can help. If you think someone you know needs support, please get in touch.”

According to GamCare reports, over 41,000 calls were made to the National Gambling Helpline in 2020/21; this represents a 9% increase compared to the previous year. Out of all the people reaching out, 43% contacted the helpline via online chats, which represents an increase from the 37% that reached out using the same method last year.

Statistics from GamCare treatment services in 2020/21 show that 77% of the gamblers identified as male; 84% of the people who called manifested concerns about someone else’s gambling were women; 66% of gamblers attending treatments reported having debt issues; and over one in 10 gamblers (over 10%) reported alcohol misuse.

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