Gambling, health and economic regeneration: A literature review


This report briefly summarises the rapidly growing body of research on the impacts of gambling on health, and on economic regeneration, in the light of the passage of the Gambling Bill through the UK Parliament. It looks at reports from other countries (South Africa, the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) as well as developments in the UK. Impacts of gambling on health Most studies on the impacts of gambling on health have focused on the negative aspects of problem and pathological gambling1. Shaffer & Korn (2002) reviewed 200 studies on gambling behaviour from a public health perspective. They summarised the negative health impacts as including mental health problems, mood swings, and suicidal tendencies. Other symptoms of problem gambling included absenteeism from work, and unemployability, resulting in loss of production and contributing to increased welfare costs. Problem gambling has been linked to increased substance abuse (such as drugs and alcohol) and domestic violence, leading to family breakdown, with its associated social and economic costs. Less conclusive evidence has linked increased opportunities for gambling with increased rates of bankruptcy rates and criminal behaviour such as theft, fraud, and embezzlement.

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