Problem Gambling – A UK Public Health Issue

A PHE review which was carried out by Public Health England has revealed alarming figures regarding the online gambling habits of people who are classed as ‘At Risk’ gamblers.

It is thought that in the UK, as many as half of one percent of the adult population with as many as 3.8% at risk and other 7% negatively affected by the gambling habits of other people.

Rosanna O’ Conner of the Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, and Justice at PHE is alarmed at the findings of the review, “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.”

Jim McManus, vice president of the association of directors of Public Health, had this to say,“This evidence review from PHE paints a stark picture of the avoidable harms from gambling to the economy, society, and the individual.

Again, we see that existing regional inequalities are exacerbated by these harms, with those from poorer areas at higher risk from the negative impacts.

A public health approach, with cross-government support, properly funded, is essential to reducing harmful gambling and all the negative consequences highlighted by this research in relation to debt, relationships, and jobs.”

It was also commented that gambling companies prey on vulnerable people, with the effect of the Covid lockdowns only adding to the problem.

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