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MPs debate gambling-related harm Published Date: 01/04/2019

Ronnie Cowan MP lead a debate in the Westminster Hall on gambling-related harm.

The debate was accompanied by a written report providing context to the debate including:

•    Gambling regulation
•    What is gambling-related harm?
•    What has the Government done?
•    What is GambleAware doing?
•    What has the gambling industry done?
•    Gambling prevalence
•    Problem gambling

Mr Cowan MP said in his opening remarks: “When we think of harm caused by drugs, alcohol or tobacco, we have a very specific idea of what it looks like. When it comes to gambling, the harm may not be so obvious but it is there. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board proposed that the following definition of gambling-related harm should be used in British policy and practice:

“Gambling-related harms are the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society.

“These harms are diverse, affecting resources, relationships and health, and may reflect an interplay between individual, family and community processes. The harmful effects from gambling may be short-lived but can persist, having longer-term and enduring consequences that can exacerbate existing inequalities.”

Whilst the debate resolved only that it had the debate, some actions were taken from it including Carolyn Harris committing to: “The first priority of our APPG will be to look at the harms caused by the growth of online gambling. According to recent reports on British gambling behaviour, the prevalence of problem gambling among those who gamble online—at the casino, the slots and the bingo-style games—is very similar to its prevalence among those who play FOBTs. Currently, there are close to 3 million problem and at-risk gamblers in the UK, and 10% of them play online casino, slots and bingo.”