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Problem Gambling: Frequently asked questions

Briefing for councillors

The context of gambling has evolved significantly over the last 20 years with a variety of national and local lotteries being launched, the substantial growth in internet based gambling and the increased presence of fixed odd betting machines in the betting shops. The international evidence suggests that the increasing availability of gambling, particularly density of electronic gambling machinesi, is associated with an increase in problem gambling.

There has also been the advent of the ‘super casino’, where local government should undertake health impact assessments as part of the planning and licensing process to consider the impact of a substantial shift in the local social and economic landscape, however ‘super casinos’ are beyond the remit of this briefing.

This short briefing provides local councillors and chief officers with an overview of gambling and problem gambling, with a particular emphasis on the clinical context of problematic gambling. The briefing also provides information on how local government can act to reduce the harm associated with problem gambling through existing legislation and guidance.