Gambling-related harm targeted

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Manchester is one of two local authorities in the UK to map people at risk of gambling-related harm in their communities. This comes before a change to regulations on April 6th, which will require all gambling premises to prepare a local area risk assessment.

Westminster City Council and Manchester City Council teamed up with Geofutures to produce the report.

The two local councils found similar concerns about gambling and decided to work together with the support the Local Government Association to identify and map at-risk individuals within the two cities.

It is hoped that this information will help make it easier to understand the potential impact of gambling premises, and better inform decisions about new outlets.

The research maps areas where people are at greater risk of harm, looking at local patterns of key factors in vulnerability such as mental health as well as mapping the location of facilities such as drug and alcohol treatment centres.

The final publication is the second phase of the research, with the first looking at which groups are more vulnerable to gambling related harm.

The research should help better inform local area risk assessments from April and help the gambling industry to work closely with local communities.

This could mean that gambling operators put in place more staff to spot those struggling with gambling, more security staff, changes in opening hours, or even financial support to care providers in an area.

Operators could also engage as a group with local police or give individuals the ability to self-exclude across a local community.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council's executive member for neighbourhoods, said:

"People living with gambling problems do not draw attention to themselves, and the issue has been very hard for authorities to deal with because so little is known about who these people are.

"This is a cutting edge piece of research that has never been done before, and will enable us to understand who is at risk of developing a gambling problem and where these groups can be found. We will be able to use this information whenever we develop new policies to deal with gambling venues across the city."

City centre councillor Kevin Peel said:

"We welcome this important research. We've been campaigning for several years against the harm caused by the build up of betting shops with addictive casino-style gaming machines which are fuelling gambling addiction. Any evidence which will help us to make the case against these machines can only be a good thing."


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