The council today agreed to hold a summit on the negative impact of gambling, that will inform a citywide response to prevent harm and provide treatment.
The summit, to be held in the New Year, will bring together a range of partners including academics, third sector, health professionals, youth workers and those with lived experience of the destruction caused by gambling problems and addictions, to examine the current challenges and develop a framework for action.
Acknowledging the changing landscape of the gambling sector; in the way that people bet, who plays and the myriad of associated health and financial problems linked to gambling, a new approach is needed.
Remote or online gambling – the fastest growing sector of the industry – has become more accessible in the digital age and marketing and advertising spend increased, making it easy to use and more appealing.
The Wellbeing, Empowerment, Community and Citizen Engagement Policy Development Committee also discussed paying particular attention to the impact of problem gambling on young people. As evidence shows that gambling now causes more problems in adolescents than smoking or drinking alcohol and this group are particularly vulnerable to its negative effects.
The summit will seek to discuss the development of a whole systems approach to both prevention and treatment of individuals. This means identifying where there are linkages and interdependences in relation to how gambling impacts a person and their family and social network and look at developing a coordinated response, with partners.
The plan follows a cross party development day where attendees heard from Dr Michelle Gillies, public consultant for the Scottish Public Health Network, who presented her work on reducing gambling harms and set out the case for a whole systems approach and Laura MacDonald from the University of Glasgow who also highlighted evidence of the clustering so-called ‘environmental bads’ such as alcohol, fast food, tobacco gambling outlets, particularly in areas of deprivation.
Bailie Annette Christie, said: “The city has had a longstanding problem with gambling, but now we need to acknowledge that traditional approaches just aren’t working. The gambling sector has changed over recent years and therefore how we tackle the problems that arise from gambling addiction and how it impacts other areas of a person’s life, needs to change too.
“We need to treat gambling the same as alcohol and smoking addictions have been treated in the past – as public health problems. We need a new approach and to look at all the different policy areas including health, education, planning, licensing, and financial inclusion that could be used to treat and support people and prevent the harm in the first place.”