This year’s Bourne Free festival was attended by Dr Reece Bush-Evans from Bournemouth University as well as partner charities, the Gordon Moody Association and Ygam. At the festival, Dr Bush-Evans sought to determine the impact of gambling on LGBTQ+ communities as a part of a new research. Ultimately, the new study seeks to find potential reasons why representatives from such communities may engage in gambling activities.
Early findings of the new research uncovered some LGBTQ+ individuals can turn to gambling as a coping mechanism, while others may engage in such activities as a way to “mask their sexuality.” Moreover, early results confirmed that some LGBTQ+ people would rather engage in online gambling activities. The research explained that those people would prefer the online counterpart as physical gambling locations can be intimidating for them. At the same time, some LGBTQ+ people admitted that gambling treatment and support services may not be able to match their specific requirements.
In that line of thought, Ygam recently released the results of a study together with Dr Bush-Evans and Bournemouth University’s Gambling Research Group, uncovering that LGBTQ+ people are “statistically significantly more likely” to experience problem gambling and gambling-related harm. The study flagged that 71% of the interviewed LGBTQ+ adults admitted that they have experienced some form of discrimination or harassment in their life. As a result, gambling was identified as one method for coping with such challenges, making some LGBTQ+ people more vulnerable to gambling addiction and harm.
Research into the Impact of Gambling Continues
In light of the latest research by Dr Bush-Evans, Samantha Maskell, Gordon Moody’s recruitment and learning and development manager, explained that the charity continues to collaborate with Bournemouth University in an effort to better understand the needs of different communities. “We have recently been working with Bournemouth University and with Reece to understand and reach out to different communities, to build a research pack to find out what additional support can be needed and how we can adapt and build on out current programs,” she said.
“Gambling is enjoyed by many, very safely. However, there is a significant minority of individuals, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community, who might be exposed to gambling harms.“
Dr Reece Bush-Evans, member of the Gambling Research Group at Bournemouth University
Dr Bush-Evans said that there are plenty of people that enjoy gambling safely. However, he explained that some LGBTQ+ people may be impacted by gambling harm, which is a primary reason for the new research that seeks to examine their experience with gambling and identify effective support strategies.
According to Dr Bush-Evans, “life stressors” such as discrimination, social isolation and harassment can serve as triggers to push some LGBTQ+ individuals to gambling. The research is still ongoing. The results from the completed study are expected to be published later this year.