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Britain need not be a nation of gamblers. We have to rein in this industry | Heather Wardle

Massive profits are extracted from society’s most vulnerable. But the review of the gambling act will reinforce the status quo Gambling takes a remarkable toll on society. In England alone, the cost of dealing with the social harms it causes (such as joblessness, debt, and health-related problems) is more than £1.2bn, and that’s a conservative estimate. On top of that, gamblers in Great Britain lose a bout £14bn every year to the industry, and people who are most socially and economically deprived are more likely to be affected. These figures come from a comprehensive review of gambling harms published by Public Health England (PHE). The sums involved are astonishing, and reinforce both the need to think carefully about gambling and how it’s promoted and about who should bear the costs of the damage it does. While the government has started to consider this in its review of the 2005 Gambling Act, the frame of reference – aiming to simultaneously protect the public while ensuring that the gambling sector continues to thrive – arguably reinforces the status quo. Heather Wardle is Lord Kelvin Adam Smith reader in social sciences at Glasgow University Continue reading...

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