Press Story

New research by think tank IPPR reveals the costs to government associated with problem gamblers.
The report finds that:
  • People who are problem gamblers are associated with between £260 million and £1.2 billion a year of extra cost to government;
  • These costs are spread across health, welfare and employment, housing, and criminal justice. They include areas such as hospital inpatient stays, prison incarcerations, mental health services, and homelessness costs;
  • Between 0.4 and 1.1 per cent of the population are problem gamblers, and around 4 per cent are ‘at risk'
  • Men are five times more likely than women to be problem gamblers.
IPPR is calling on central, devolved and local government to do much more to deal with this hidden addiction, which can blight the lives of families and communities and put real strain on the public finances. The report also spells out the need for government and local agencies to collect more information on problem gambling across frontline public services, in order to help them meet the scale of the challenge.
Craig Thorley IPPR research fellow said:
“For many, problem gambling is a hidden addiction. IPPR’s research shows the scale of the challenge for Britain’s public services for the first time.
“This should be a wakeup call to government. We need a proper strategy to deal with this issue, just like we’ve had for other public health issues such as alcoholism.
“This strategy must make sure that effective services are available to help those affected, and also consider whether we have the right regulations and prevention strategies in place to stop those at risk of problem gambling from being pulled over the edge.”
Kieren Walters 07921 403651
Editor’s Notes:
  1. The report 'Card on the table: The cost to government associated with people who are problem gamblers in Britain' can be found here:
  2. IPPR aims to influence policy in the present and reinvent progressive politics in the future, and is dedicated to the better country that Britain can be through progressive policy and politics. With nearly 60 staff across four offices throughout the UK, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence. Our independent research is wide ranging, it covers the economy, work, skills, transport, democracy, the environment, education, energy, migration and healthcare among many other areas.