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Women in Scotland ‘failed’ by lack of gender-specific addiction services

Women in Scotland living with a gambling addiction are being failed by a lack of services, says charity Simon Community Scotland.

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According to analysts, Scotland is eight years behind the UK in terms of providing gender-specific care to women living with a gambling addiction. This is in spite of the growing number of women reported to have an addiction, which can sometimes go overlooked due to the ‘masculine’ nature of gambling as a pastime.  

Gambling addiction can affect women in ways similar to men, such as the risk of losing a job or home, but it is suggested it may also impact women in the form of a risk of losing a child due to being unable to care for them.  

Moreover, the research highlights the issue of gambling addiction and homelessness, with ‘one in five people experiencing homelessness also experience problem gambling,’ according to the charity Simon Community Scotland. 

The charity is calling for an increase in women-focused gambling addiction services in Scotland. On the topic, the charity's CEO Lorraine McGrath said: "There is increasing evidence of undeniable links between homelessness and gambling harms as both a cause and consequence, which is even more acute for women, who experience more hidden harms and experience more severe harms much more rapidly than men.” 

Experts have said gambling firms target women by placing social media ads on sites for new mums, and through influencer advertising. Moreover, in the past the gambling industry has been criticised for its targeting of low-income areas, creating a particularly potent mix that may cause women closer to the poverty line to gain harmful gambling habits.

McGrath continued by saying: "It feels we are so far behind other parts of the UK and the world in Scotland, we need... to raise the voices of women with lived experiences and learn about what is possible to tackle the system and societal drivers of gambling harms."

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