Statistics show addiction treatment effective for the bulk of NGTS clients

Marc Etches GambleAware report
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A report from GambleAware suggests that a full 60 per cent of those who complete one of its NGTS treatment programmes reduce problem play to the extent they are no longer determined to be “problem gamblers”.


New data released by GambleAware suggests that the UK’s various gambling addiction services have proved effective in reducing the problem-play behaviours of most of those people referred for treatment.

A new report issued by the charity, which details over 9,000 individuals referred to its National Gambling Treatment Services (NGTS) network from April 2019 to March of this year, suggests that approximately 60 per cent of players who completed the full length of their treatment went on to subsequently score low enough on GambleAware’s problem gambling severity index (or PGSI) to no longer be deemed “problem gamblers.”

Meanwhile, the vast majority of discharged clients (90 per cent) went on to register some improvement on the PGSI index, with a similar proportion (86 per cent) also reducing their measure of gaming-induced psychological distress.

GamblingAware chief executive Marc Etches said that the data-set represented a “significant milestone” in understanding the effectiveness of addiction treatment nationwide.

“GambleAware commissioned ViewItUK to independently collate and analyse output and outcome data, which will allow GambleAware to rigorously evaluate these outcomes on the basis of robust and comparable evidence,” he remarked. “We are committed to informing the development of best practice and outstanding care for those experiencing gambling harms in Great Britain, and the data reporting system we are pioneering is designed to be made available to the NHS, Public Health, local authorities and other statutory and voluntary sector agencies to meet the needs of local communities.”

And whilst a rosy picture with respect to treatment outcomes is likely to be favourable (or at least not unfavourable) when it comes to the future regulation of gambling business, one metric worthy of note is that the vast majority (90 per cent) of NGTS clients came to treatment by way of self-referral: a figure which may raise questions as to how charities such as GambleAware (not to mention operators themselves) can do more to direct problem gamblers towards addiction services.


Meanwhile, over at the Guardian….

Leave it to the commissars at the Guardian to turn good news regarding the effectiveness of addiction treatment into yet another alarmist piece on how the world and his uncle is now a gambling addict.

Their coverage of the NGTS stats focused on the relatively small uptake of treatment amongst the UK’s problem gambling contingent: with the newspaper alleging that the sample size of 9,008 clients which had engaged with NGTS services represented “only around 3 per cent of addicts .[and] possibly far less”.

The Guardian went on to quote the director of mental health for NHS England Claire Murdoch, who said that whilst the addition of new treatment centres showed that NGTS had “stepped up to the plate,” the relatively low uptake on the part of problem players should “act as a wake-up call to a gambling industry that still causes extraordinary harm.”

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