Gaming Machines

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Porter of Spalding Lord Porter of Spalding Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the economic and social costs of providing welfare and support services as a result of the high stakes being gambled on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Measuring the cost of problem gambling is a complicated task. The study by The Institute of Public Policy Research “Cards on the Table”, published in December 2016, estimated that the cost to the Government associated with problem gamblers ranged between £260m and £1.16bn. This reflects an estimate of the costs of public services for those individuals, but it does not capture the wider impact of problem gambling and gambling-related harm to the UK economy. The attached report can be found here: https://about.gambleaware.org/media/1367/cards-on-the-table_dec16.pdf

Building on this analysis, a report produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which I attach, (published January 2018 and found here: http://www.coin-opcommunity.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CEBR-Report-final-Jan-2018.pdf) provided estimates of the cost to government of problem gambling specifically related to B2 gaming machines. This analysis estimates that problem gamblers linked to B2 machines could be associated with an excess fiscal cost in the region of £210 million and in welfare terms, the population of B2 problem gamblers could be imposing a cost of £1.5 billion on themselves, their families and their wider social networks.

GambleAware is commissioning research to improve the understanding of gambling-related harm which should lead to a set of metrics which we can use to measure the impact of gambling-related harm on a wider scale. We continue to take problem gambling and gambling-related harm seriously and welcome developments to better understand this issue.

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