29 January 2011

Developing a Population Approach to Gambling: the health issues


The Institute of Public in Ireland has recently published a short paper on the public health issues surrounding gambling in Ireland that has wider international relevance.

Key findings that I'd like to share are:


  • Participation in gambling can be seen as a continuum from those who do not participate at all to those who are addicted.
  • Gambling can negatively affect significant areas of a person’s life, including mental and physical health, employment, finances and relationships with others.
  • Only a small proportion of those who gamble run into difficulty but for those who do there is a ripple effect with implications for family and community health and wellbeing.
  • Adopting a population based screening tool for gambling can help to understand and determine the extent of gambling in society.
  • A population approach is required to understand the prevalence of problem gambling, minimise harm including potential social costs and protect vulnerable groups.
  • Adolescent gambling is thought to be 2-3 times the rate of adults.
  • From an economic perspective, evidence suggests that the health and social costs of problem gambling exceed government revenue gained from gambling taxes and businesses.