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Online slots were the most common vertical that National Gambling Helpline callers struggled with last year, according to new statistics from GamCare.

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GamCare is a UK-based charity providing information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harms, as well as operating the National Gambling Helpline.

In 2022, the helpline took calls from 5,660 individuals struggling with the effects of gambling, of which 73% said they struggled with online gambling specifically.

Of those who disclosed difficulties with online gambling, 60% cited playing online slots as one of the main activities they struggled with, up from 34% in 2018-19.

In other verticals, the figures were significantly lower.

The proportion of callers citing challenges with betting exchanges, for example, was relatively low at 7.6%, though this marks a rapid increase from just 0.3% in 2018-19.

Meanwhile, the proportion of callers having problems with financial markets such as cryptocurrencies and other trading products rose from just 0.02% to 2.17% during the five-year comparative period.

In online sports betting, however, the figure has fallen, with 20% of callers citing problems with the vertical compared to 34% in 2018-19.

GamCare’s lived experience manager Colin Walsh said: “There is still a perception that gambling harm predominantly comes from betting on horses or sports events.

“The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline.”

– GamCare lived experience manager Colin Walsh

“In the past five years, we have broadly seen a trend where people often start gambling on these activities but eventually transition into other areas of online gambling, where it can be easy to lose sight of how much time and money is being spent.

“The data highlights that it is now disproportionately online slots that are the main challenge for many people who call the National Gambling Helpline.

Walsh added that he knows from experience “how difficult this form of gambling can be, and how isolating it can feel if you find yourself caught in a negative cycle.

“But I also know that it is possible to get through it and that there is free help for anyone struggling with it,” he concluded.

Statistics published earlier this year showed that nearly 330,000 people were excluded from gambling in the UK via Gamstop, a self-exclusion service which collaborates with GamCare through the TalkBanStop partnership.

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