Two local authorities have become the first in the UK to map people at risk of gambling-related harm, within their communities.
This comes before a change in regulations, which will require all gambling premises to prepare a local area risk assessment. The altercation in regulations will be activated from 6 April. Westminster City Council and Manchester City Council have cohered with Geofutures to produce the report.
Both local councils uncovered similar concerns over gambling and have decided to work together with the support of the Local Government Association to identify and map individuals at risk within London and Manchester.
It is hoped that this information will make it easier to comprehend the potential impact of gambling premises, and will lead to more informative decisions regarding new outlets. Two maps are available, one for London and one for Manchester.
The research maps areas where people are at greater risk of harm, whilst looking at local patterns of key factors in vulnerability. Such as mental health issues, drug problems and issues relating to alcohol. The research also locates facilities, such as drug and alcohol treatment centres.
The final publication is the second phase of the research with the first part looking at which groups are more vulnerable to gambling related harm. The research should help in informing local risk assessments from April and should also aid the gambling industry in working closely with local communities.
This could result in gambling operators employing more staff to notice those struggling with a gambling addiction, more security staff, changes in opening hours or even in financial support to care providers in the area.
Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, has remarked, “People living with gambling problems do not draw attention to themselves, and the issue has been very hard for authorities to deal with”.
Mr. Murphy then added, “This is a cutting edge piece of research that has never been done before, and will enable us to understand who is at risk of developing a gambling problem and where these groups can be found”.