In Greater Manchester we are thinking differently about gambling by working to prevent and reduce the negative impacts of gambling on individuals, families and communities.
Gambling includes activities such as: betting on sports, casino games, playing bingo or buying scratchcards. This may be online, in licensed premises, or between friends. Some elements of gaming have similarities to gambling, such as buying loot boxes or trading skins.
We are bringing together partners from across the 10 localities in Greater Manchester as part of our innovative public service reform and population health agenda to prevent and reduce gambling related harms in our communities.
Our priorities are:
- Developing our understanding of gambling related harms
- Improving access to high quality treatment and support
- Supporting interventions to prevent gambling from becoming a harmful activity
- Engaging with people and communities to co-design our work
The GMCA’s work is supported by the Gambling Commission as part of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms and funded by a regulatory settlement with an industry operator.
Over half of the population has participated in some form of gambling in the past year. While for some this can be an enjoyable activity, it is a source of harm for many. Surveys suggest that there are nearly 150,000 people living in Greater Manchester who are experiencing, or at risk of gambling disorder. This is an underestimate of the true prevalence of harm due to underreporting and failure to include people who are affected by someone else’s gambling.
Harms associated with gambling include mental ill health, relationship breakdown, poor performance at work or school and financial difficulties. These harms may be experienced by the person who gambles or by family, friends and colleagues of someone who gambles. Harms can accrue very quickly, but we know that recovery can take a long time.
“Gambling took so much more from me than money. It took my happiness, my motivation, my self-worth, my decency, my self-respect and it took my freedom.”
Gambling harm reduction
Our works is aligned around four key priorities:
We have a unique opportunity to bring together partners to address gambling related harms here in Greater Manchester, but the growth of online gambling highlights the importance of effective national regulation to protect people from harm. The GMCA response to the review of the Gambling Act puts residents at the centre of a call on Government to take action to better regulate the gambling industry, removing the associated costs to society of gambling related harms. We are working with the Gambling Health Alliance to continue to put pressure on Government to take a public health approach to gambling harm reduction.