Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities

Joint work published by a team led by Prof Robert Rogers, Bangor University, with colleagues from Public Health Wales, Heather Wardle Research Ltd and Swansea University highlights the widespread harms that gambling can cause, not only for those who gamble, but also for families, friends and communities. Gambling is increasingly being recognised as a public health priority.

The work consists of two reports published in January 2019:

1. Gambling as a public health issue in Wales is jointly published by Bangor University and Public Health Wales, and provides an overview of gambling as a public health issue in Wales. Click to view the report and the infographic.
2. Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities is a longer and more detailed report independently published by Bangor University which provides detailed analysis of what we know about gambling in Wales, salient aspects of the current policy debate around gambling (machines, advertising and technology), the nature of gambling harms, public health approaches to gambling, harm-minimisation and a discussion of the policy repertoire for Great Britain and Wales. Bangor University has also created an interactive risk-index map to accompany the report.

Exploring area-based vulnerability to gambling-related harm across Wales

To help explore how the risk for gambling harms vary across Welsh communities, the team commissioned Geofutures Ltd to develop a gambling harm risk-index map. The map shows how social, health and economic risk factors for gambling harms are likely distributed across Wales. It does not show where gambling problems occur. Geo-spatial mapping of this kind illustrates only an estimated probabilistic risk of gambling problems among the population based upon the strength of associations reported in the literature. The map indicates where in Wales there are greater numbers of people who are potentially vulnerable to experiencing gambling harms.

View the risk-index maps and explore different areas of Wales

The aim of the risk map is to help licensing authorities and industry operators to produce local area risk assessments (that are now a regulatory requirement), and to use this understanding of local area risk to protect vulnerable people from harm by developing appropriate policies and procedures. The map is based upon population numbers with demographic and socio-economic features that confer risk for gambling harms, and not localised prevalence rates.

Full details of how the map was created and an outline of the type of data used including their strengths and weaknesses can be viewed in the accompanying technical report

The map is currently only availabile in English, if you would like to discuss the map in Welsh, please get in touch with one of the authors below.

Authors

Authors of this work include:

  • Prof Robert Rogers, School of Psychology, Bangor University (r.rogers@bangor.ac.uk)
  • Dr Heather Wardle, Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (and Heather Wardle Research)
  • Dr Catherine Sharp, School of Health Sciences, Bangor University
  • Prof Simon Dymond, School of Psychology, Swansea University
  • Dr Timothy Davies, School of Psychology, Bangor University
  • Prof Karen Hughes, Policy and International, Directorate, Public Health Wales & School of Health Sciences, Bangor University
  • Sara Wood, Policy and International Directorate, Public Health Wales
  • Prof Mark Bellis, Policy and International Directorate, Public Health Wales & School of Health Sciences, Bangor University

This work was commissioned and funded by Public Health Wales. Public Health Wales is an NHS organisation providing professionally independent public health advice and services to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of the population of Wales. Production of this report was funded by Public Health Wales. However, the views in this report are entirely those of the authors and should not be assumed to be the same as those of Public Health Wales.