Gambling and adult safeguarding: connections and evidence

Abstract

Opportunities to gamble have boomed in the UK in recent years, since the passing of the Gambling Act 2005. The implications of this for adults with care and support needs and for safeguarding services have not been greatly investigated.

The purpose of this paper is to address the interface of how gambling affects adults with care and support needs in England and adult safeguarding.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper reports on the scoping review which focussed on adults with care and support needs and gambling-related harm. It also included literature on perpetrators who exploit adults with care and support needs to fund their own or others’ gambling. The overall aims of this scoping review were to explore what is known about gambling-related harm affecting adults with care and support needs, the gaps in the evidence base, and specifically to refine the interview questions for the wider study.

Findings
There is some evidence that adults with care and support needs experience or are at risk of gambling-related harm. There is, however, lack of data from safeguarding services about this affecting adults at risk and safeguarding practice and systems. A public health approach to gambling is advocated by some, as well as effective regulation and support for people who have problems with their own or others’ gambling.

Originality/value
Industry operators, practitioners, and policymakers are increasingly paying attention to gambling-related harm but there is a lack of focus on adults with care and support needs or implications for adult safeguarding.

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