GambleAware-Backed Research Seeks Understanding of Drivers and Burdens of LGBTQ+ Gambling Harm

An upcoming GambleAware study will examine the LGBTQ+ experience of gambling and gambling harms.

According to the Request-for-Proposal (RFP), the research will expand on the results of a recent scoping review that found evidence of “compounding” gambling harms among groups within Great Britain’s LGBTQ+ community.

The yet-unpublished review highlighted the need for further study into the “lived experience, drivers, and burden of gambling harms” within queer communities.

The newly announced research offers a start.

Funding applicants will need to demonstrate how they will build an understanding of LGBTQ+ gambling harm experiences, treatment barriers, and specific healthcare/service provider needs.

Research should build new evidence on why this community is disproportionately impacted by gambling harms, and what needs to be done to address their needs or prevent harm—including actionable and practical recommendations for policy, prevention programmes, and treatment and support services.

Notably, GambleAware will prioritize LGBTQ+ expertise over knowledge of gambling harms when awarding the £297,900 ($378,328.53) grant for the 18-month study.

The successful applicant will not necessarily have specific knowledge of gambling or gambling harms, and instead must have expertise in conducting research with LGBTQ+ communities, and experience of centring the agency, self-determination, and empowerment of respondents and research participants, including research on issues of social exclusion, stigma and discrimination as barriers faced by marginalised communities accessing services, and the contexts in which LGBTQ+ communities live.

Also of note, funding for the project comes through a regulatory settlement set aside for GambleAware by the GB Gambling Commission out of collected financial penalties. As a result, it isolates the findings from any suspicion of influence from the gambling industry.

Gaps in Understanding LGBTQ+ Gambling Harm

As the RFP makes clear, gambling harms are known to affect certain people or groups disproportionately as individual and societal factors intersect, compounding consequences.

Inequalities are often interrelated: disadvantages are concentrated in particular parts of the population and can be mutually reinforcing. Addressing these wider socio-economic inequalities is therefore a crucial part of reducing health inequalities.

Despite awareness of the inequitable burden of gambling harm in GB, the RFP acknowledges substantial gaps in evidence of the “underlying drivers” across GB’s population and among “vulnerable and minoritised” groups bearing much of the harm.

Similarly, while there is consensus that inequalities affect LGBTQ+ health outcomes and the harms experienced, impacts on problem gambling are less understood.

However, GambleAware’s internal analysis of its Annual Great Britain Treatment & Support survey suggests gambling harm is a greater burden for GB’s “minority sexuality” communities.

Specifically, gay, lesbian, or bisexual people who gamble are more likely than heterosexuals to report gambling-related harm (29% vs. 21%). They were also more likely (9% vs. 4%) to score eight or higher on the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI).

Additionally, as LGBTQ+ gambling increases, mental health plummets “at a greater rate than the general population,” suggesting a “more deleterious” impact.

The survey also showed more LGBTQ+ people experienced gambling-related financial harms when accessing gambling treatment and support than their heterosexual peers (24% vs 16%).

Due to this and other available evidence, GambleAware commissioned the scoping study to establish existing knowledge about the LGBTQ+ experience of gambling harms.

As noted, the review found substantial gaps in the understanding of the LGBTQ+ community’s experience(s) of problem gambling. It also found “serious and unaddressed disparities in needs, access, and outcomes.”

Further research, including cross-sectional quantitative research, population-based surveys, longitudinal research and in-depth qualitative exploration, is urgently needed to understand the experience of gambling harms in the LGBTQ+ community.

Study Will Direct Help to Those Who Need It Most

According to the RFP, the review’s recommendations for further study to address the missing knowledge are behind the research aims. Proposed research should build on existing research, create new evidence, or fill in what’s missing.

Specifically,  proposals (due at 5 p.m. on Feb. 12) must:

  • Establish how Great Britain’s LGBTQ+ communities experience direct and indirect gambling harms and what their lived gambling harm experience looks like.
  • Establish effective, evidence-based approaches, systems, and interventions for preventing harm amongst LGBTQ+ people or supporting those at risk of or experiencing gambling harm
  • Involve community groups or LGBTQ+ peers and researchers, including those with lived experience of gambling harm.

Additionally, GambleAware expects the researchers with the successful proposal to deliver at least one report, three academic papers, and a presentation slide deck with their findings.

The RFP also encourages bidders to think outside the box when suggesting additional outputs, including infographics, videos, blogs, workshops, or community events.

The goal, the introduction concludes, is to benefit those most at risk.

Where there is evidence, we know that there are serious and unaddressed disparities in needs, access to support, and outcomes from support.

Detailed primary research on these issues will provide the evidence needed to support improvements in policy, prevention (including information campaigns, education, and training) and treatment (including informal and specialist support).

The ultimate purpose of this research is to facilitate greater assurance that prevention and treatment approaches and systems are able to access and address those communities who most need support.

About the Author

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil (she/they) is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor, and a lead writer at Bonus. Here she focuses on news relevant to online casinos, while specializing in responsible gambling coverage, legislative developments, gambling regulations, and industry-related legal fights.
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