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Understanding the different negative effects of gambling


Gambling can take many forms. This includes casinos (where you can bet money on games like poker, blackjack, or slot machines); sports betting (where you bet on the outcome of sports events); or even lotteries (where you buy tickets for a chance to win a large prize). Gambling is provided by many different companies, including charities. We are interested in the different ways people gamble and the effects gambling has.

The negative effects of gambling are known as ‘gambling harms’, and these harms can affect individual people, families, and communities. They can also result from all levels of gambling, not just heavy gambling. Gambling can harm health (including mental health), finances, and relationships.

This project will help us to understand the links between health and wellbeing and gambling behaviours for all people who gamble, not just for those who gamble the most.

Aims and Objectives:

We're trying to find out a few things:

  • What are the links between health and wellbeing and gambling behaviours for all people who gamble?
  • How do gambling behaviours change over time?
  • Is the health and wellbeing of people who live with others who gamble heavily worse than the health of other people?
  • Does the health and wellbeing of different types of people who gamble vary?



Here's how we're aiming to find this out:

  • We'll use data from different surveys. These include: 1) the Health Survey for England, 2) a survey which is repeated at different points over time in people who bet regularly on sports, and 3) the Gambling Survey for Great Britain.
  • Each survey lets us look at slightly different things. For example, the Health Survey for England lets us look at the health of people who live with people who gamble heavily whilst the Gambling Survey for Great Britain lets us look at people who have been affected by someone else’s gambling.
  • We will then bring all the information together to look at how gambling affects health and wellbeing overall.
  • Throughout this project, we will be speaking with people with personal experience of gambling to improve what we are doing and to help us make the results more useful.


Policy Relevance & How We Will Tell People About Our Research:

We want to make sure policy makers have good evidence on the wide range of harms that people can experience from gambling. We also want them to understand who is most likely to need help and support. By looking beyond only those who gamble most severely, our research will help us understand the effects that gambling can have on a much wider range of people. The research will be used to inform policy makers in government departments responsible for gambling and public health so they can develop more effective policies and interventions. We will also share our findings in other ways (such as scientific papers, briefings, podcasts, and blogs) so that they reach as many people as possible.

Project status: Ongoing