London Assembly opens enquiry on Capital’s gambling harms

The London Assembly has launched an inquiry seeking to ‘understand the health impacts of gambling in the capital city’.

The inquiry will be led by the London Assembly’s Public Health Committee with the aim of informing the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about developing policies and initiatives to reduce gambling-related harms.

The Committee has issued a ‘call for response’, seeking insights from lived experiences on the availability of support services for those experiencing gambling-related harm within London boroughs.

Open until 29 November, the consultation for the inquiry is looking for insights on key concerns. These range from changes in gambling participation in London and the prevalence of gambling-related harms to the effectiveness of support services and the role of the Mayor in reducing these harms.

The London Assembly would like to invite those who have experience or knowledge of the health impacts of gambling in London to provide written evidence to the Committee.

The information provided will be used to inform the work of the Committee and influence its recommendations. Written submissions should be emailed to [email protected] with ‘Health Committee call for evidence’ as the subject line. Participants are not required to answer all questions.

The responses gathered by the Committee will inform its investigation, which will be part of a report conducted by the London Assembly. Participants have been informed that several written submissions, along with the names of contributors, will be published to ensure transparency.

The London Assembly launched its inquiry citing guidance estimated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that “0.3% of the population may be engaged in harmful gambling.”

The inquiry also references statistics from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) indicating that gambling-related harms in England have a social impact ranging from £754m to £1.47bn per year.

London Health Committee Chair, Dr Onkar Sahota, said: “Government data suggests that harmful gambling is linked to higher rates of suicide, depression, alcohol dependence and drug use, and it is estimated that gambling-related health harms in England costs up to £1.5bn per year. 

“Following an announcement that NHS support services for people experiencing harms from gambling are being expanded in London, we want to find out how many people in London are thought to be engaged in harmful levels of gambling, and what more can be done to support those affected.”