Gambling harms Health

New campaign lifts the lid on gambling harms in Greater Manchester

A NEW campaign has been launched in Greater Manchester, coinciding with the 2022 Football World Cup, to highlight some of the tactics used by the gambling industry and raise awareness of the harm caused to residents.

Odds Are: They Win is an anti-gambling harms campaign, delivered by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), to inform people of harmful industry practices that can have negative impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, finances, work, and relationships with friends and family.

In a UK-first, the campaign moves beyond the typical narrative of ‘responsible’ gambling and individual ownership. This campaign says that whatever the gambling product, whoever the gambling operator and whichever way you look at it, the Odds Are: They Win.

The campaign is being delivered during the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar across a range of digital and outdoor channels, including billboards around the city-region and posters on the Metrolink network, to get people talking about the risks of gambling.

Local public health officials are worried that, in the midst of a cost of living crisis, people could be increasingly drawn in by the gambling industry's advertising and offers.

Research shows that:

  • Watching football on TV could expose adults and children to a gambling advert every 10 seconds, including on pitch-side advertising boards, team kits, and in advert breaks
  • 1 in 15 residents in Greater Manchester experiences harms related to gambling – equivalent to over 180,000 people
  • 20% of online bingo players suffer harm as a result of gambling
  • 25% of fixed odds betting terminal players experience harm as a result of gambling
  • As part of the Greater Manchester gambling harm reduction programme, GMCA has awarded £300,000 of grant funding to support organisations and partnerships across the city-region to deliver initiatives that aim to prevent and reduce gambling related harm and tackle inequalities.

All boroughs of Greater Manchester benefit from the funding, with initiatives including training of community volunteers in Oldham, Salford, Tameside and Manchester, bespoke support for people who are currently unemployed in Wigan, and a focused intervention for victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse in Rochdale.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “As an industry, the main aim of gambling operators is to maximise profits. These profits are the result of customer losses which, particularly during this cost of living crisis, risk having a seriously detrimental impact on people’s lives.

“This campaign in Greater Manchester is the first of its kind in shining a light on harmful industry tactics and supporting people to protect themselves against them. This is particularly important during the World Cup, and the overwhelming amount of gambling adverts that will be appearing on our television screens.

“We are doing everything we can in Greater Manchester to prevent and reduce gambling harms, and we need that to be matched by national action. The review of the Gambling Act is now well overdue, and the Government must take this opportunity to do more to protect our residents and people right across the country from the harmful practices of the gambling industry.”

Dr Andrew Furber, North West Regional Director for the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, said: “Gambling related harms are often hidden and can be detrimental to a person’s life and the people around them. It is important to see these problems as a public health issue and tackle them accordingly.

“I welcome Greater Manchester’s approach to begin raising awareness of gambling harms and addressing this public health concern with the urgency and importance it deserves.”

Eleanor Roaf, Director of Public Health at Trafford Council, said: “Gambling is a major public health concern which affects our residents more every day. Sadly major sporting events like the World Cup come with a large number of gambling adverts, exposing children and young people to a higher risk of harm from gambling.

“The good news is that there is a lot of work taking place across Greater Manchester to prevent and reduce the risk caused by gambling. If gambling is having an impact on you or someone you love, confidential help and support is available.”

To find out more about the campaign and to access advice and support visit the GMCA's Odds Are: They Win campaign webpage.

To share the campaign on social media, download the Odds Are: They Win campaign resources via the GMCA's communications toolkit webpage. 

Article Published: 23/11/2022 10:29 AM