This week is Talk Money Week and at Betknowmore UK we’re reflecting on what conversations around money look like for those affected by gambling harms.
Many of our Experts by Experience (EbE’s), who have lived experience of gambling harms, reflect on the times they had big wins and were more than happy to talk about the extra cash they had. They bought presents, holidays, treated loved ones to days out, and more – but while speaking out about their wins, they would never mention any of their losses.
For every big gambling win there are several stories of devastating losses that are usually not talked about at the time. One of our EBE’s recalled a time where he gambled on pay day to try to win enough to buy an expensive holiday, but by the end of the night he’d lost all the money for his bills, rent and food for the month. He then went back to work the next day without a word to his family, colleagues, or management. The only giveaways of the massive harm and panic in his life were sudden changes in mood and preoccupation with overtime, as well as borrowing money from friends, colleagues, and family - not to pay bills but to gamble and win more. He explains now that if he’d talked to anybody, they might have tried to help…
Talking about money in relation to gambling harms is extremely important! The recent cost of living crisis has made this need even more urgent. At Betknowmore an important part of our client support work is providing information and guidance on monetary issues, such as completing a financial inventory, implementing safeguards and budgeting plans. Money and/or financial services of course facilitates gambling behaviour, and so their relationship and perception of money may also have to be explored. We work with debt management services, we help clients create and stick to budgets – and lately we have developed training, in partnership with GamCare – to integrate knowledge of gambling into the conversation on workplace employee financial education and wellbeing. Worksafe is educating workplace leaders, HR managers and other staff on what gambling harms are, how to talk about them and how to support employees who may be experiencing them. Knowledge of gambling harms is an integral part of any money conversation.