Research suggests that gambling may be harmful for some people, by exacerbating financial vulnerability and worsening mental health problems through addictive behaviour. However, it is not a harmful activity for everyone who takes part. 1

Harm from gambling is not restricted to those who are very heavy or frequent gamblers, it also affects people who are at low and moderate risk of problem gambling and those around them. Problem gambling is linked to poor health and a co-dependence on alcohol.

Research on the links between gambling and health shows that: 2

  • access to gambling venues increases gambling activity and problem gambling
  • the use of multiple forms of betting, particularly fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) by younger adults, can be associated with significant harm to health and wellbeing
  • problem gamblers experience the worst health outcomes and tend to live in deprived areas

Insight gathered as part of a recent study in Liverpool found that, as well as creating financial difficulties, problem gambling impacts on family life, relationships and employment, and can lead to problems with sleep (due to anxiety). 3

References

  1. Ben Cave Associates and Southwark Council, “Betting, borrowing and health. Health impacts of betting shops and payday loan shops in Southwark,” 2014
  2. Ben Cave Associates and Southwark Council, “Betting, borrowing and health. Health impacts of betting shops and payday loan shops in Southwark,” 2014
  3. Liverpool Public Health Observatory, “Fixed Odds Betting Terminal Use and problem gambling across the Liverpool City Region. Observatory report series No, 95,” 2014