Alongside the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the organisation has also developed a new framework for measuring the effects that problem gambling has on young people.
The Gambling Commission’s Programme Director for Safer Gambling Helen Rhodes has claimed that “Gaining a better understanding of the impact of gambling on children and young people is a key priority for the Commission.”
Rhodes went on to explain that both childhood and adolescence are vital developmental stages in a person’s life, and that any damage done throughout this developmental process can be extremely detrimental to them in later life. This work was therefore vital in helping to reduce the risk of such damage from occurring throughout an individual’s childhood and adolescence.
The UKGC has set out three main objectives for this new measurement strategy, these being as follows:
The first was to correctly develop an accurate definition of the harms gambling can bring to both children and young people in general. The second is to create a framework that is effective in helping the commission to understand the full extent of these harms. The third is to then use this framework to generate effective questions that will elicit useful responses from children on this topic.
Rhodes has claimed that this new framework “will provide critical insight into the range of harms that young people in Britain can experience and will help greatly in concentrating the National Strategy’s prevention and education initiatives where they will have the most impact.”
One of the main findings that has stood out from reports on this new framework is that there is a correlation between gambling addiction, mental health and emotional well-being. More specifically, these findings suggest that there is a possible link between gambling and other types of “risky” behaviour.
What these findings then suggest is that even when gambling is shown to be linked to such damaging behaviours as substance abuse, it should not immediately be listed as the direct cause. Such behaviours in gambling may be the by-product of higher levels of risk taking.
Other major factors of these young peoples’ lives were also brought into consideration during development of this framework. This was done to better assess the impact of problem gambling behaviours on an individual’s life. Such factors that were taken into account include physical health, education and relationships within the family.
The Gambling Commission has claimed that applying this research “will take time and the framework will evolve as we move into the next phase of this work. We encourage our partners in delivering the National Strategy, including public health officials and academics to feed back to us as we move into the next phase of work.”