UKGC seeks to measure the social costs of gambling related harm

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released a groundbreaking report aimed at creating a methodology that could be used to quantify the social costs of gambling.

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The report is intended to begin a dialogue around creating a framework to measure the social costs of gambling. © Pexels.

The report, titled Measuring Gambling Related-Harms: A Framework for Action, was led by Dr Heather Wardle and commissioned by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB).

Both the UKGC and the problem gambling charity GambleAware collaborated closely to complete the report.

The report comes as the Commission continues to push for gambling harm to be considered as as publish health issue.

The study aims to act as a starting point for measuring the social costs of any negative effects caused by problem gambling.

With that in mind, researchers had four key initial goals. These were:

  • To define gambling-related harms succintly to be used by policy makers and public health officials in discourse
  • To better understand, measure and monitor all of the social and economic impacts of gambling-related harm
  • To create an actionable framework that assesses how these harms impact individuals, families and the wider community
  • Define a method of accurately estimating the social cost of these harms

Speaking about the report, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said:

While the majority of consumers can enjoy gambling without experiencing harm, we cannot forget the devastating effects it can have on some individuals, families and communities. This report shows significant progress in understanding those effects and measuring the impacts on wider society and the economy as a whole. We do not see this as a definitive position – it’s very much a work in progress. We encourage public health officials, academics, the industry and the public to feed back on the report and work with us to set a framework that can help prevent harm to consumers. Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive

Creating a methodology to quantify gambling-related harm

The report defines gambling-related harm as, ‘the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society.’

The study identified over 50 different metrics of potential harm caused from gambling, ranging from losing employment to related health-issues.

These metrics are divided into ten key themes of gambling-related harms aimed at serving as a foundation framework for beginning to measure the social cost of gambling.

However, the report stops short of introducing its own methodology to quantify the cost of negative effects of gambling. Rather, the Commission intends that at this stage for the report to serve as a means to stimulate discussion and ideas surrounding the issue.

You can read the report in full at the Gambling Commission’s website.

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