UK: Collins denies Gambling Commission criticised health review

The PHE report calculated the cost of gambling harm at £1.27bn a year.
The PHE report calculated the cost of gambling harm at £1.27bn a year.

Responding to a question in Parliament, Collins denied the Gambling Commission had criticised the review as unreliable.

UK. Damian Collins, the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister responsible for gambling has denied that the Gambling Commission has criticised Public Health England’s cost estimates for gambling harm.

The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has asked in a parliamentary questions session “on what date” the regulator had told the DCMS that the findings of the cost estimate were “unreliable”. However, Collins said that the regulator “has given the department no formal advice or notification relating to the cost estimates in Public Health England’s evidence review on gambling-related harm.

He added: “Protecting people from gambling harms remains a priority for the government and the Gambling Commission, and we will be led by the best evidence to ensure the right protections are in place.”

The PHE review published last year calculated the annual economic costs of gambling harm at £1.27bn. It calculated the social impact of suicide to be the largest cost at £620m, basing the calculation on an average of 409 people taking their own lives each year due to problem gambling.

Other costs included depression (£335m), drug and alcohol misuse (£6m) and criminal activity (£163m). That comes despite record low problem gambling rates in the UK.

The DCMS is still expected to publish a gambling white paper in the coming months, but speculation is brewing that the UK government may completely scrap its long-delayed overhaul of gambling legislationTruss is said to favour ditching plans for new regulation in a range of areas in order to focus on economic growth.

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