Problem gambling costs the UK more than £1 billion annually, according to a ground-breaking new report.
The report, commissioned by the charity GambleAware, is reported to be the most detailed report into gambling costs in recent years.
It was produced by independent think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which says it should serve as a “wakeup call” to the Government.
The report provides cost estimates for services related to problem gambling, such as addiction treatment, counselling, and support for the homeless. However, it does not take into account the wider economic impact on families and employers.
The total figure for the estimated costs was £1.2billion, which exceeds the £1 billion figure which the Association of British Bookmakers claim its members contribute to the exchequer through taxes each year.
“For many, problem gambling is a hidden addiction. This should be a wakeup call to government,” said Craig Thorley, a Research Fellow at IPPR.
He added: “We need a proper strategy to deal with this issue”.
Chief Executive of GambleAware Marc Etches said: “Problem gambling is an issue which affects millions of people across Britain each day.
“GambleAware is keen to put problem gambling on the public health agenda, as it’s no different to any other kind of addiction.”
A recent report released by the Gambling Commission found that gamblers lost £13.6 billion through betting between April 2015 and March 2016.
Billions of pounds
Remote gambling – using a phone or computer to bet or play bingo and casino games online – is the largest sector in the industry, accounting for almost £4.5 billion and 33 per cent of all gambling revenue.
The National Lottery (25 per cent) and betting shops (24 per cent) accounted for most of the other gambling losses.