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Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL13301, tabled on 11 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Barran on 7 January (HL Deb, col 281), and the statement that "the vast majority of people who gamble do not experience harm", what assessment they have made of the report by Naomi Muggleton et al The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data, published in Nature on 4 February.

Answered on

18 February 2021

The 2016 combined Health Surveys, estimated that 1.2% of people who gamble are likely to be problem gamblers, with a further 2% at moderate risk, and 4.4% at low risk of experiencing some harm related to gambling. The Health Surveys use two validated screening questionnaires to assess problem gambling, which ask whether respondents have experienced a range of negative behaviours and outcomes related to gambling including spending more than they could afford to lose, chasing losses and borrowing money to pay gambling debts.

Recently published analysis of banking transaction data has demonstrated a correlation between higher rates of gambling spend as a proportion of income and indicators of lower financial inclusion, wellbeing and healthiness. These correlations were generally strongest after the 75th percentile of spend levels. The analysis found that the majority of people who gamble spend only a small proportion of their income on gambling, and did not establish a causative link between gambling spend and the indicators identified.

The government launched its Review of the Gambling Act 2005 on 8 December with the publication of a Call for Evidence. The Review will be wide-ranging and evidence led, and aims to make sure that the regulation of gambling is fit for the digital age.