A £1 million grant has been announced for research to support people affected by the negative impact of gambling

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Gambling has long attracted public attention for its potentially harmful effects such as gambling addiction, financial loss, and social isolation. As such, a £1 million grant has been announced for research to support those affected by harmful gambling. This opens up new perspectives to study the problem and develop interventions to address it. Researchers at the University of Birmingham are already highlighting the importance of greater action to reduce the impact of harmful gambling on public health, and their work could lead to significant changes in the way the problem is approached.

Adoption of the White Paper and Emerging Issues

When the Gambling Act came into force in the UK in 2005, many expected this to lead to a liberalization of the gambling industry, however, concerns about gambling harms have increased significantly in recent years. More and more attention is being paid to the negative consequences of gambling, such as gambling addiction, financial loss and social isolation.

Following the review of the Gambling Act last year, the UK government published a White Paper entitled “High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age”, which presented changes planned to update laws and regulations to tackle harmful gambling, especially internet gambling. 

However, Dr. Joht Singh Chandan, clinical associate professor of public health, and Kate Bedford, professor of law and political economy at the University of Birmingham, suggested that the White Paper’s proposals were not sufficient. Their opinion highlights the importance of examining problem gambling in the UK and draws attention to taking proactive action to reduce the impact of harm caused by the gambling industry. 

After receiving over £1.1 million from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to investigate equitable public health approaches to reducing gambling harms, Dr. Chandan, Professor Bedford and their colleagues at the University of Birmingham decided to express their views in a public letter published in The Lancet. The research also involves colleagues from the University of Exeter and Community Connexions, an organization dedicated to advocating for the voice of disadvantaged communities.

Dr. Chandan expressed approval about the publication of the government’s White Paper, drawing attention to the fact that society now views gambling and substance misuse as a public health issue, which is a huge step forward. However, he believes that many of the recommendations presented in the White Paper still do not go deep enough to eliminate gambling-related harms, especially in the era of the proliferation of the virtual gambling industry. For example, experts still do not see casino bonuses as a problem. According to https://twinspinca.com/, many casinos give newcomers no-deposit bonuses that create a false sense of how gambling works.

In a letter published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet, Dr. Chandan and Professor Bedford expressed that the proposals in the White Paper on gambling reform do not cover key aspects that public health advocates have demanded. The main concerns relate to not tightening the rules on lootboxes in video games available to children and young people. They also raised concerns about a proposal to liberalize rules for real slot machines in casinos and bingo halls, arguing that such moves are completely contrary to common sense and health requirements.

In addition, the scientists raised concerns about placing too much trust in consumer surveillance technologies to detect gambling harms. They emphasized that relying solely on such technologies may be insufficient and ineffective in addressing gambling-related problems.

The researchers concluded their letter by raising an important question about the fairness of the recommendations in the White Paper. They noted that if the proposals are implemented in full, online gambling operators could access customers’ financial data by running checks through credit agencies, banks and open source data. Such actions raise questions about privacy and trust. This raises questions about how fair the implementation of these proposals will be and how it will affect the protection of users’ rights and interests. 

Article edited and fact checked by our editorial team.


  1. Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. (2023, April 27). High stakes: Gambling reform for the Digital age. GOV.UK.
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