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Government report reveals gambling harms cost society at least £1.27bn a year

Government report reveals gambling harms cost society at least £1.27bn a year

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In the UK, the Government body Public Health England (PHE) has published its first evidence review of gambling-related harms in the country. The review includes a comprehensive estimate of the burden of gambling on society, revealing that harms associated with gambling cost at least £1.27bn in 2019 to 2020 in England alone. This analysis includes estimates of the economic cost of suicide, homelessness, family issues, bankruptcy and employment problems. The evidence suggests that harmful gambling should be considered a public health issue because it is associated with harms to individuals, their families, close associates and wider society with an approach that focuses on prevention, early intervention and treatment. Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at PHE, said: “There is so much more at stake from gambling than just losing money, from the toll on mental health to the impact on those around the gambler. The evidence is clear, harmful gambling is a public health issue and needs addressing on many fronts, with an emphasis on preventing these harms from occurring as well as with help readily accessible for those directly and indirectly affected by the wide ranging and long-lasting negative impacts of gambling.”

UK Gambling Minister Chris Philp added: “We are gathering all the necessary evidence to reset the balance between giving adults the freedom to choose how they gamble safely, with the right protections for those at risk of harm. We are determined to protect vulnerable people from exploitation by aggressive advertising or unfair practices that entrench problem gambling.”

And Tim Miller, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission concluded: “We are pleased to welcome this important independent report from Public Health England. Protecting people from gambling harms is a priority for the Gambling Commission, and we take a public health approach to do so. Public Health England’s work will help to support the continuing collaboration of a wide range of bodies under the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.”