Gambling costs English society at least £1.27 billion every year

Gambling costs English society at least £1.27 billion every year

Gambling costs English society at least £1.27 billion every year.

Damage from gambling costs English society at least £1.27 billion every year, according to a new study.

Gambling related harms in the analysis range from financial such as bankruptcy and employment issues, to family issues, and health harms such as suicide, Public Health England (PHE) said on September 30.

People at risk of gambling harms are concentrated in areas of higher deprivation, such as the North of England, and may already be experiencing greater health inequalities.

The PHE review found a clear link between higher levels of alcohol consumption and harmful gambling, with only 35.4 per cent of non-drinkers participating in gambling compared to 74.4 per cent of those consuming over 50 units of alcohol (equivalent to 16 pints of beer or large glasses of wine) per week. Alcohol use in children and young people was also found to be a risk factor for subsequent harmful gambling.

The review also highlights the link between gambling and mental health issues. The report found that gambling can increase the likelihood of some people thinking about, attempting or dying from suicide. Evidence suggests that people with gambling problems are at least twice as likely to die from suicide compared to the general population, with one overseas study showing that people with a gambling disorder had a 19 times increased risk of dying from suicide.

In financial terms alone, gambling costs English society at least £1.27 billion every year.

Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at PHE, said: “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,” she added.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.