The study will expedite the sharing of its findings with key stakeholders that have expressed concerns around the inherent social, economic and health harms associated with risky forms of gambling – including the World Health Organisation, the Gambling Commission, and the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group.
Vladimir Poznyak, World Health Organisation lead for substance abuse and addictive behaviours, has requested updates on the project findings. He said: “It is exceptionally important to understand how gambling is changing under COVID-19 and to use insight from high-quality data to inform appropriate policy and regulatory responses.”
Dr Wardle added: “There is an urgent need to provide regulators, policymakers, and treatment providers with high quality evidence on the changing patterns and context of gambling behaviours during COVID-19 and its aftermath. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore what happens when certain types of gambling opportunities are severely curtailed.
“Our study will provide an important insight into the actions undertaken by industry, so regulators can consider immediate actions, and an understanding of new risk groups susceptible to gambling harms to develop effective prevention strategies. It will also present important information around the escalation and maintenance of harms, to inform treatment and support provision.”