Gambling Harms and Homelessness

Information, support & signposting


The relationship between gambling and homelessness might seem obvious, however, very little work has been done to look at this in Scotland. Gambling is rarely mentioned when discussing homelessness, even though it can contribute towards relationship and family breakdowns, rent and bill arrears, domestic violence, debt and deteriorating mental health- all of which can lead to someone being asked to leave their accommodation.


Gambling is risking money or something of material value on something with an uncertain outcome in the hope of winning additional money or something of material value.


All gambling carries risk. Gambling becomes harmful when it affects someone’s physical or mental health, financial resources or relationships. Those experiencing harm through someone else’s gambling are referred to as an affected other – for every one person experiencing gambling harms another 6 people are affected. 

Gambling harm is “the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, and society.” It is more prevalent among people with a lower income, and the gambling industry exploits this.


Our Gambling Harm project started in January 2023 and has four aims: 

  • Identify and speak to people we support who are experiencing gambling harm; reduce the stigma associated with it and signpost them to appropriate support services
  • Establish links between homelessness, gambling and trauma
  • Increase staff awareness and understanding of gambling harm through training to ensure that staff feel confident having conversations with people who receive our support
  • Create specific and tailored pathways for women affected by gambling harms in relation to women’s health and wellbeing

Normalising the conversation around gambling and raising awareness of the harms associated with gambling encourages people to feel less stigmatised and more likely to ask for support.


Our partner Fast Forward is facilitating bespoke two-hour gambling harm training for all of our front-facing staff. This training will allow staff to open a dialogue about gambling and gambling harm with the people that they are supporting to further normalise the conversation and to confidently signpost people to appropriate services for the support that they need. We are also working together to co-design an e-learning training that will be available for everyone to learn about gambling harm and homelessness. 

The RCA Trust are hosting a Gambling Harm Drop-In Clinic on the first Tuesday of every month in The Access Hub in Glasgow. This clinic allows people we are supporting and those from the community to visit The Access Hub and speak to trained professionals about their own or someone else’s gambling, complete a PGSI survey to analyse their own gambling harm, organise treatment for their gambling or seek advice or additional information.   

To ensure that Gambling Harm is woven throughout all of our services we are creating a Gambling Harm Network made up of staff who are passionate about gambling harms, harm reduction, raising awareness and reducing stigma surrounding gambling harms. This Network will be dynamic, led by the people involved, guided by the lived experience voice and new learnings released on gambling harms. Network members will facilitate Conversation Cafes within our accommodation services, organise internal and external communications to raise awareness of our work and create innovative ways to support people who are experiencing or affected by gambling harms.   


If you or someone you know or are supporting is experiencing or affected by gambling harm, please find some links below that can offer support. Each service offers different pathways of support for people including online or in-person counselling, group or one-to-one support and online or in-person meetings and forums. 


Be Gamble Aware

Free, confidential support and advice to anyone who’s worried about gambling.

0808 8020 133 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)


Scottish Gambling Hub

Their mission is for every young person in Scotland to have access to gambling education and prevention opportunities. 


Gam Care 

Support and treatment options for anyone affected by gambling harms across the UK.

0808 8020 133 (24 hours/ 7 days a week) 


The RCA Trust 

Treatment options for anyone experiencing gambling harm in Scotland. 

0141 887 0880 (9 am – 7 pm/ 7 days) 


Gamblers Anonymous

A fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common harm and help others to recover.

0370 050 8881 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)


GAMBAN – Self Exclusion Tool 

An easy-to-use application which blocks online gambling on all of your installed devices.


GAMSTOP – Self Exclusion Tool 

Allows you to self-exclude from online operators with one request.


Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme (MOSES) – Self Exclusion Tool 

The MOSES service allows people to self-exclude from multiple betting shops with just one phone call.

0800 294 2060 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)



A fellowship of men and women who have been affected by someone else’s gambling.

0370 050 8881 (24 hours/ 7 days a week) 



Samaritans Scotland provides a vital lifeline for people and communities across the country.

116 123 (24 hours/ 7 days a week)