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Problem gambling causes a £30bn hit to the nation’s happiness

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arch conducted by Lancaster University Management School and the University of Sheffield found that if problem gambling were eliminated, the rate of happiness would rise by as much as if the UK were collectively £30bn better off.

The survey of 10,000 adult UK citizens found that problem gamblers rate their happiness significantly lower than those gamblers who do not have a problem and non-gamblers.

This was best illustrated by the answer to the question: 'taking all things together, on a scale of 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are these days?"

Individuals who did not have a gambling problem on average said 7.95, with problem gamblers reporting their happiness rating at 6.25. After examination of other influences which affect the happiness of an individual, the difference between these numbers was reduced to 1.5.

Researching the link between income and happiness, the study found that an individual with a happiness rating of 6.25 would have to be given over £90,000 for their happiness level to increase to the same level of those individuals with a 7.95 happiness rating.

Analysis of survey data reveals that around 0.7% of adults are classified as problem gamblers, equating to about one third of a million people in the UK.

Professor Ian Walker, co-author of the report, said: "The loss from problem gambling is only partly the large financial losses. More importantly there is a loss in well-being associated with being a problem gambler. It is one thing to feel bad about losing money accidentally, but real damage comes from having wasted money that could have been spent on fun, the kids, or on the essentials of life."

"Overall we found that if we had a magic wand and could make problem gambling vanish we would be collectively better off by as much as if GNP had got £30bn bigger. Sadly however there is no magic wand and tackling the problem is likely to be expensive work. Problem gambling is the Cinderella of addictions and what the UK spends on tackling problem gambling is a tiny fraction of what is spent on alcohol abuse issues."
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