Gambling related harm

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New financial data highlights the broader impact

By Jo Evans, Gambling Harm Reduction – Programme Manager, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Earlier this month a ground-breaking new report was published using data from 6.5million anonymised bank accounts to demonstrate the impact of gambling on customers. For the first time this study documented the wider financial impact of relatively low-level gambling. For example, a 10% increase in the amount spent on gambling is associated with a 52% increase in payday loan take-up, an 81% increase in missing a loan repayment and 98% increase in missing mortgage repayments. Where spend on gambling amounts to 2 – 4% of an individual’s income, harms become more severe. With no limits on the amount that can be gambled in a single session, gambling harms can happen very quickly, but recovery can take a long time.

Gambling related harms are not just financial, and this study showed that people who gamble are less likely to spend money on their own wellbeing and had an increased mortality rate. Anyone who gambles is at risk of harm. In Greater Manchester it is estimated that there are approximately 147,000 at risk or harmful gamblers, although this is likely to understate the true extent of gambling related harm as for every person directly affected, up to 6 – 10 others may also be impacted.

Gambling is often described as a hidden harm, but many of those experiencing harm may already be in contact with existing services, where the issue of gambling may be the root cause of wider problems such as domestic abuse, mental health, family breakdown and financial difficulty. This represents a significant opportunity to improve the identification of problem gambling and access to appropriate treatment and support.

GMCA is developing an ambitious programme to prevent and reduce gambling related harm in Greater
Manchester, one of the first areas in the country to do so. We all have a part to play in this.

Educate ourselves and our teams about gambling related harm and build skills to identify, signpost and support people in our communities who may be experiencing harm – visit the GMHSCP website for details of resources and available treatment options.

Support our call on Government to take a proactive stance to regulation in response to its review of the Gambling Act, in particular in restricting the way that gambling products are promoted and advertised
(e.g. sponsorship in sport), introducing stake and deposit limits on online products and giving communities a greater say over the premises that are licensed in their neighbourhoods.

If you have a story to tell about how gambling has affected you, or the people you work with, please get in touch as we can use this to build our understanding of gambling related harm in Greater Manchester, and develop better targeted interventions to prevent and reduce harm.

To get involved, or for further details about this programme, please contact Jo Evans, Gambling Related Harm Programme Manager.


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