Gaming support charity GamCare said it was unsure of the full impact of Euro 2020 on gambling damages and is preparing to increase calls to its hotline in the height of the sporting summer when COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have been eased or lifted . .
GamCare fears that Euro 2020 will be a gambling catalyst in the summer of 2020, with several sporting events coming up this year, such as Wimbledon and the Olympics.
The charity is aware that regular gamblers spent more time and money betting during the lockdown and believe that gambling vulnerabilities may now increase.
Increased support is required due to the risk of harm associated with gambling, especially with younger bettors who make up the majority of the people it helps.
Hotline consultants said they had to call emergency services for people who directly linked Euro 2020 to their surge in gambling activity.
More than half of GamCare consultants reported that they had received calls from at least one recovered player who relapsed during the euro.
In more extreme circumstances, employees have seen callers say they even used their kids' phones to avoid gambling blocks in a desperate attempt to place a bet. Or creating new betting accounts using a partner's name before the match starts. In addition, some disguised their appearance in order to enter bookmakers where they were banned.
However, it is not only the gamblers themselves who are suffering in the current environment, as GamCare has also heard from people affected by gambling others where incidents of financial and emotional abuse have occurred since the introduction of the euro.
Anna Hemmings, chief executive of GamCare, said: “The vast majority of those who seek help are gambling online. The experiences of our hotline callers and our research consistently show that this is a concern for us and the people who use our services.”
“Our latest helpline and treatment data shows that online gambling has increased during the pandemic and we will certainly be monitoring this trend to see if it continues after the lockdown is lifted,” she added.
Before the start of Euro 2020, former England international Karen Carney MBE highlighted the dangers women faced as a result of gambling during the tournament.
Carney, who is the third most played player in England, has sparked a discussion about gambling issues through TalkBanStop, which brings together charities that support gambling, including GamCare.