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National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019 to 2022

The sole aim of this three-year (2019 to 2022) National Strategy was to move faster and go further to reduce gambling harms.

Defining, measuring and monitoring gambling-related harms

The overall aim of this theme is to help us better understand the nature of gambling-related harms and how they can be reduced which will help us move away from simply identifying the number of problem gamblers within a population.

Improving our understanding of gambling-related harms is the underpinning principle of the Prevention and Education theme of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

We know that gambling-related harms take many forms, with negative impacts possible on peoples’ resources, relationships and health and include those experienced by other people, not just the gambler – including families, children of gamblers, employers, communities and society more generally.

Harms can be temporary, episodic or longer term in nature, and can occur at all levels of gambling participation.

We know that harms from gambling can extend beyond the gambler to their friends, family, community and society.

We need to develop a way to comprehensively measure the harms caused by gambling and their cost to society.

This will allow us to understand the scale of the issue and whether we've successfully reduced harms, and more effectively target interventions.

Image 9 - Research aims for defining, measuring and monitoring gambling-related harms- the image shows 3 circles with text in them. The first circle describes what we know, the second describes what we need to do and the third describes what this will help us to understand.

Research projects

Measuring gambling-related harms: a framework for action (PDF) is a report published by the Gambling Commission, ABSG, and GambleAware. This report agreed a preliminary working definition of gambling-related harms and adapted models of how harms sit within broader eco-social and prevention models.

Measuring gambling-related harms: methodologies and data scoping study (PDF). This study considered different methodologies for estimating social costs of gambling-related harms and makes recommendations as to which methods are most feasible. Understanding and measuring gambling-related harms is one of the Gambling Commission’s top priorities. More information is available in the methodologies and data scoping study project brief (PDF).

The work was completed by the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics. It has also produced an accompanying costing guide: Methods for assessing costs of gambling related harms and cost-effectiveness of interventions (PDF) outlining economic approaches to measuring gambling-related harms and cost-effectiveness of interventions.

The report was considered whilst forming the next steps on measuring gambling harms, impact and success (PDF) published in July 2020.

Suicide is one of the most serious of the possible harms associated with gambling and one of the priority themes identified in the framework. Using existing data sets, this project focuses on providing insights into rates of suicides, suicide attempts, suicide ideation and self-harm which are associated with problem gambling. This will compare prevalence between those reporting different risk factors.

Work on this project has been conducted by Dr Heather Wardle and Swansea University. Read the gambling-related suicide project brief (PDF) for more information.


There are three outputs from this research.

These reports are:

  1. Problem gambling and suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-harm in England (PDF) evidence from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007.

  2. Exploring problem gambling, loneliness and lifetime suicidal behaviours (PDF) a cross-sectional study using the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007.

  3. Scoping current evidence and evidence-Gaps in research on gambling-related suicide (PDF)

Children and young people

Measuring gambling-related harms among children and young people: a framework for action (PDF) is a report published by Ipsos MORI and follows a similar approach to that set out in the framework for action, to develop a dedicated framework to measure harms experienced by children and young people.

This includes developing and piloting a set of survey questions to improve our understanding of the dimensions of harm experienced by children as a result of their own or someone else’s gambling’. You can read more about the questions in the analysis report of the Young People's Omnibus pilot findings (PDF).

You can also find out more about problem gambling screens (opens in new tab) and the difference between problem gambling and gambling related harm (opens in new tab).


Following an audit the 'problem gambling and gambling related harm' link has been updated.

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