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Gambling harms cost society £1.27bn according to a Public Health England review

Harms associated with gambling cost society at least £1.27bn ($1.7bn), a landmark report from Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.

GamblingHarms

The review, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care, tallies the economic burdens associated with problem gambling in England from 2019 to 2020.

Gambling-related harms included in its analysis range from financial bankruptcy and employment issues to family problems and major health risks such as suicide, with this alone estimated to cost society £619.2m, while homelessness resulting from problem gambling adds a further £62.8m.

It also identified men as 4.2 times more likely than women to be at “levels of elevated risk of harm” as well as those from more deprived parts of the country, such as the North of England.

“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,” remarked Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at PHE.

“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.”

The review suggests that the adverse social impact of harmful gambling makes it a pressing public health issue and recommends an approach centred on prevention, early intervention and treatment.

Many notable individuals from across the public sector have issued comments on the review’s findings, including the Executive Director of the Gambling Commission, Tim Miller: “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.”

According to the latest figures from the Gambling Commission, the gambling industry in Britain brought in £5.9bn from April to September 2020.

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