GamCare has deepened its work on protecting UK gamblers from the risks of consuming gambling-related debts, confirming it will trail referrals with PayPlan.

The harm prevention and treatment support charity has unveiled a pilot initiative connecting its users with debt advice specialists trained by PayPlan.

The need for debt advice has been marked as a key priority by GambleAware, as two-thirds (66%) of its treatment users reported to have debt issues, with a further 80% admitting to being impacted by financial hardships.

Operating since 1992, PayPlan is an independent debt advice organisation offering support to UK charities, communities, businesses and government institutions on debt management issues.

PayPlan offers free consultations to UK adults, a service that has helped over 1 million users become debt-free.

GambleAware launched its pilot scheme on Monday 9 August, with initial PayPlan user referrals being introduced by the Leeds Community Gambling Service (LCGS).

PayPlan has delivered training to LCGS practitioners to provide key information about debt advice – in turn, GamCare has upskilled PayPlan’s Special Advice Team on how gambling affects people’s finances and other areas of its support network.

“The referrals will be directed to PayPlan’s Special Advice Team who understand the types of situations the clients may be in. Both organisations will then work collaboratively to provide joint duty of care for those affected by gambling debt.” – read GamCare’s statement.

This Summer, GamCare published its new ‘three-year’ corporate strategy, outlining new collaborative directives to ensure the widest support of problem gambling treatment to be made available to all UK communities.

The strategy saw the charity highlight specific gambling debts concerns, related to women and ethnic minorities that felt socially stigmatised in admitting to having debt issues related to their gambling habits.