Liverpool Public Health Observatory (LPHO) was recently commissioned by the Merseyside Directors of Public Health to deliver a report on Fixed Odds Betting Terminal use and problem gambling across the Liverpool City Region and the project report can be accessed here. In Cheshire & Merseyside there are over 5,000 problem gamblers.
Margaret Carney, Health Lead for the Liverpool City Region Chief Executives and Chief Executive of Sefton Council and Liz Gaulton, Chair of Cheshire & Merseyside Directors of Public Health Executive Board and Director of Public Health for St Helens Council, have written to the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and the Public Health Ministers to highlight the negative impact on health of fixed odds betting terminals.
Respondents across the Liverpool City Region who were interviewed by LPHO reported a wide range of negative impacts from problem gambling, including impact on family life, relationships and employment, as well as financial impacts. Problem gambling can lead to mental health problems with sleep difficulties, due to anxiety, and has a ‘ripple’ effect, as one person’s gambling problems can impact upon a lot of people. Staff who worked with people who had problems with gambling reported that their families were at risk of anxiety and depression.
The letter gives support for the recent Private Member’s bill - Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (Betting Shops) Bill 2014-15 - that received its first reading in parliament in July but also asks for additional powers for public health through the licensing process.
LPHO would welcome your feedback on the project and the report. Please answer six very brief questions by clicking here.