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Crime and Problem Gambling: we need to know your views

19 September 2019

The Howard League wants your views on Crime and Problem Gambling.

Lord Goldsmith QC, chair of the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, outlines the work of the Commission and highlights a call for written evidence by 30th September 2019.

Concern about harmful gambling has been growing for some time, culminating in the publication of the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms by the Gambling Commission. This important document sets out two strategic priority areas of ‘prevention and education’ and ‘treatment and support’. It also makes a welcome commitment to widen the research base on gambling harms and improve the links between research and policy.

One harm which is currently little understood is that of problem gambling and its links to crime. Earlier this year, the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling was launched by the Howard League for Penal Reform to explore the issue in detail.

I am pleased to be leading a team of 16 commissioners, bringing together academics and professionals with expertise in the criminal justice system and public health, as well as experts with knowledge of the gambling industry and lived experience of addiction.

Over the next three years, we will investigate patterns of crime linked to problem gambling, and the societal harms that connect the two, before seeking to make recommendations for government, the gambling industry, and within the criminal justice system. Crucially, the Commission will look to outline what steps could be taken to reduce crime generated by problem gambling and how to make people safer.

In order to do this, the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will hold evidence sessions and seminars with key stakeholders; commission research to identify gaps in our knowledge; conduct interviews with those who have offended through problem gambling; and, explore what lessons might be learned from other jurisdictions.

Whilst entirely independent of the Gambling Commission, the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will speak to the strategic priorities set out in the new National Strategy.

Our evidence-based and comprehensive approach is one example of how the research base on gambling harms can be strengthened, with a view to making policy recommendations that can improve lives.

At this early stage, what we really need is to know what people think and what evidence already exists of the harm we are investigating. To that end, we have launched a call for written evidence. The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling is keen to receive written evidence from academics, practitioners and policy makers within the gambling industry; legal and health disciplines; from criminologists; as well as from people with lived experience. We also welcome examples of international evidence examining the links between crime and problem gambling.

In short, you can help us. Guidance on how to submit evidence before the deadline of 30 September 2019 can be found on the Howard League’s website (opens in new tab). We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Last updated: 3 February 2021

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