The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s advice on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019–2022
Families and others affected by someone else’s gambling
The partners of people who gamble harmfully, their children, their wider family and friends and other social contacts, can also be harmed. There can be multiple knock-on effects, including reduced household budgets, less visible negative effects on personal relationships and, at the extreme, families dealing with the consequences of suicide. Some work has been done to address these harms in the recent past.31 The objective for the new strategy should be to consolidate and systematise the work, build awareness and broaden the resources and interventions available in family settings and beyond.
Causation is not always linear in nature, and direct impacts are rarely clear-cut. Gambling behaviours modelled in families and peer groups affect the gambling behaviour of others. In particular, parents have more influence than they might realise on affecting their children’s behaviour.32 Their actions can either increase the risk of harmful gambling by their children or play a protective role.33
An effective harm-prevention strategy needs to recognise these complex relationships and help families and peer groups play a more protective role and avoid transmitting risk to younger generations. Support and awareness raising could help them play a protective role more effectively. We suggested in a previous advice paper on children, young people and gambling34 that this should include helping parents to know what their children are doing online – especially if this involves gambling with ‘skins’ or ‘gambling-like activities’ which may have the effect of normalising gambling for children.35 Recent moves by the Gambling Commission and regulators in other countries to address these new challenges have been a positive development.36
31 GambleAware funds support for family and friends of problem gamblers (PDF) (opens in a new tab) GambleAware, October 2018
32 Beginning gambling: the role of social networks and environment (opens in a new tab) Gerda Reith and Fiona Dobby, University of Glasgow, January 2011
33 Gambling in families: a study on the role and influence of family and parental attitudes and behaviours on gambling-related harm in young people (opens in a new tab) Ecorys, September 2018 & Perceptions, people and place: Findings from a rapid review of qualitative research on youth gambling (opens in a new tab) Dr Heather Wardle, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, October 2018
35 Virtual currencies, eSports and social casino gaming – position paper (PDF) Gambling Commission 2017
36International concern over blurred lines between gambling and video games Gambling Commission, September 2018
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Gambling marketing and advertising
Last updated: 21 December 2022
Show updates to this content
Following an audit the links within References 31, 33 and 34 have been updated.