Harmful gambling costs UK society $1.71B a year

Harmful gambling costs UK society $1.71B a year

Published: October 15, 2021

The new official report issued by Public Health England has underlined harmful gambling as a serious social problem. Some of the most common results are suicide and homelessness caused by this activity.

Gambling addicts tend to have serious issues, such as sleep deprivation, mental health problems and excessive alcohol consumption. All those factors combined lead to certain self-destruction. The published report estimates that the costs of gaming-related harms amount to $1.71B per year.

The Department of Health and Social Care carried out an evidence review on gambling-associated problems in 2019. The economic cost of suicide covers about a half of the amount, whereas homelessness, family issues, unemployment and bankruptcy make up the rest.

The connection between alcohol and harmful gambling is evident, as 74.4% of participants consume more than 50 units of alcohol a week. Moreover, the report indicates that people with gambling issues are two times as likely to attempt or commit suicide.

The study finds that men usually participate in harmful gambling 4.2 times more than women. This particularly refers to those with mental health issues. According to this report, harmful gambling should be regarded as a public health problem.

It doesn’t affect individuals only, but also their friends, families and environment. The harms need to be prevented and help provided to those in need. Destructive habits can have long-lasting and tragic consequences if not addressed in time.

The competent bodies will develop a plan to address the issues recognized in the review and deliver an efficient solution. The plan includes special addiction clinics and hefty investments to improve mental health services.

Money losses, health issues and the impact on the immediate family are important questions to be considered when discussing this problem.

Commenting on the report, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission, Tim Miller, stated:

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.

About UKGC

UKGC is an independent public body established under the Gambling Act 2005 to collaborate with licensing authorities on commercial gambling regulation. It has regulated the National Lottery since 2013 and is sponsored by the DCMS.

It has 250 employees in offices across England, Wales and Scotland, alongside 40 more colleagues who work remotely. The company’s purpose is to protect players and the public by providing safe and fair gambling.