Gambling is common in England, with over half the adult population estimated to engage in gambling of some sort each year. The gambling industry continues to grow: from April 2021 to March 2022, the industry generated a Gross Gambling Yield (the amount of money spent on gambling minus the amount paid out as winnings) of £14.1 billion in England.
However, we know that gambling can cause serious harm to individuals and families. Approximately, 16,600 people in Bradford are likely have a diagnosable level of harm related to gambling. The picture is also worrying for children. A recent Gambling Commission Survey found that 28% (11-16 year olds) of young people had seen family members they live with gamble, with 7% of those saying that it had resulted in arguments or tension at home.
Furthermore, an increasing number of young people are participating in gambling related activities, with an estimated 1,179 children in Bradford at risk of gambling related harm.
It is known that gambling harms are not distributed equally across communities. People in the most deprived areas are more at risk of gambling-related harms, further exacerbating existing inequalities. Other adult groups for whom there is the strongest evidence for vulnerability to gambling harms include:
- those aged 16 to 44 years’ old
- people drinking alcohol at higher risk levels
- those participating in seven or more gambling activities
Bradford’s approach to tackling gambling related harms
A local Gambling Harms Reduction (GHR) Partnership was established in 2021, and developed an action plan to reduce gambling related harms in Bradford. This partnership consists of members from Public Health, the Reducing Inequalities Alliance, Children’s services, the Youth Service, Adult’s Social Care, the Bridge Project, Place, Marketing and Communications, and others.
The group has led on and contributed towards a number of key areas of work over the last year, including:
- Worked with the Age of Wonder research programme (Bradford Institute for Health Research) to collect information about gambling in young people from secondary schools across the District.
- Commissioned an educational programme to deliver resources and knowledge on gambling risks to schools.
- The licencing team continued to act on any reports of gambling premises which are not enforcing age restrictions.
- Developed and distributed a communications campaign for men’s football world cup in November/December to raise awareness of support available for people struggling with harms related to gambling.
- Work with Adult’s Social Care and academic partners from King’s College London on a project to upskill and empower the adult social care workforce to help early identification of gambling harms and support for vulnerable individuals.
- Ensured that the new Drugs and Alcohol service specification includes a responsibility for providers to screen for and support or refer, as appropriate, people experiencing gambling harms.
- Ensured that the Combatting Drugs Partnership develops actions on providing Very Brief Advice on Gambling and related harms. This will help increase awareness and understanding of problem gambling, how to respond appropriately and how to refer to treatment services.
Treatment and support for people with gambling-related harm is available to people worried about their own gambling, or worried about a friend or loved one.
For more information on specialist support services and advice on how to self-exclude from online gambling, please visit Bradford Council’s website. For more information and to get involved in Bradford’s gambling harm reduction work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.