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Former Scotland manager Alex McLeish highlights free support for gamblers in Glasgow

Ahead of this weekend’s ‘Old Firm’ derby, GamCare and former Scotland manager Alex McLeish are joining up to highlight the support that is available to anyone in Glasgow struggling with gambling. Since 2018, the charity has helped over 500 in the Glasgow area to tackle the emotional and physical side-effects associated with gambling and wants everyone to know that local support is available for free, whether it’s their own or somebody else’s.

GamCare operates the National Gambling Helpline – a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline that people can call for free practical advice, information and support around gambling. The charity also runs free, confidential treatment sessions for anyone in the Glasgow area, online or in-person.

According to data from GamCare:

  • More men in Glasgow come forward and speak to local advisors about their gambling issues (77 per cent) compared with women (22 per cent).*
  • Over one third (39 per cent) of people seeking help across the city are under the age of 35, underlining how young adults can be susceptible to gambling-related harms within the Glasgow area.
  • The most popular form of gambling in Glasgow was online casino slots (28%), followed by online gambling for sports events (14%).

Alex McLeish, football pundit and former Scotland manager commented: “I am pleased to be backing this campaign to raise awareness of GamCare and the work they do to help anyone struggling with gambling in Glasgow. It is important people know where they can turn for help, should they need it. Gambling is prevalent in the football industry, so I am really keen to ensure that people know where and how to seek help should they have an issue.”

Lisa-Marie, Scotland Team Leader from GamCare commented: “At GamCare, we know that people in Glasgow who use our services can find it difficult to enjoy live sports, particularly games such as the Old Firm derby. With potentially more temptation this weekend ahead of the game, there’s an added importance that people know where they can turn to if they need support with their gambling.”

“We know from our data that it is predominantly men who reach out to us in need of support. In Glasgow, over three-quarters of those who have sought help with us identify as male. However it also needs to be stressed that this is not simply a men’s issue; we’re seeing an increasing number of women accessing our services across Great Britain and there really is no one-size fits all when it comes to providing support.”

Recent research commissioned by GamCare revealed that over six million Brits know someone with a gambling issue. Furthermore, a quarter of Brits (25 percent) admit to regretting a bet they have placed.**

Warning Signs

Five signs to look out for if you’re concerned about someone else’s gambling:

1. Withdrawn – Not wanting to join in or losing interest in usual activities or hobbies like going out with friends or spending time with family can be one of the early warning signs that gambling could be harmful. Wanting to stay at home more frequently, needing to check their phone constantly to check the latest results as so much is riding on a bet.


2. Changing mood – There could be noticeable changes to their mood and behaviour, including looking worried, agitated or upset for no apparent reason.


3. Sleeping problems – If someone is chasing losses and losing money they might not be sleeping. Anxiety or constant worrying can lead to people being up all hours. Continuing to gamble on their phone during the night could lead to sleep patterns being affected.


4. Financial signs – Has money gone missing from bank accounts, or are they regularly short of money on a regular basis and are having to borrow money? There may also be more pressure to get loans out, chasing losses now not just to generate income.


5. Lying – Are you noticing that this person is lying about what they’re doing with their time? The biggest risk is the expectation they will feel from others to provide  and if they are hiding the gambling  they will feel very vulnerable at being found out and very low that they have let people down.


To find out more, visit and access local services to find help available local to you. For more on our Glasgow services, visit

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