There has been a “massive increase” in the number of professional sportspeople needing help with gambling addiction, according to the CEO of Sporting Chance.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with a second lockdown currently in place in England, has led to a rise in the amount of problem gambling cases reported by the mental health charity, which provides treatment and education for sportspeople suffering from addiction.
Sporting Chance CEO Colin Bland said the charity has seen more current athletes and players get in touch regarding problems with gambling, pointing to the fact people have found new ways to gamble.
Bland told Sky Sports news: "When we first entered lockdown, our telephones went quite quiet for a period of time and as it went on, they started to get busier and busier.
"In one week, every phone call we took was from a current player talking about their relationship with gambling, so we really have seen a rise in it.
"There was a move to casino games and playing games online. There had to be a change because there was no sport to bet on, so we have seen a massive increase in people with problems."
Bland also mentioned how education on gambling risks must be improved, with a lack of face-to-face education a reason for a rise in cases.
He added: "I think one of the other effects of the pandemic and one of the impacts we've seen is access to players.
"There's people who have got into problems during the pandemic because of the fears they have around their career, for example, and then the amount of education and the amount of contact they have with people who can signpost them to help has been reduced.”