A study from researchers at Oxford University find higher rates of gambling are associated with higher rates of mortality and unemployment
In a study published 4 February and titled 'The association between gambling and financial, social and health outcomes in big financial data', Oxford University highlight the harmful effects of gambling. Led by Dr Naomi Muggleton of Oxford's Department of Social Policy and Intervention, the report finds gambling is associated with harmful consequences such as financial damage, an acute and rapid rate of addiction, and negative health and lifestyles.
The researchers find that high levels of gambling are correlated with negative health risks; finding an 37% increase in mortality as a result. The study also finds a negative correlation between gambling and self-care such as travelling less, social isolation, and no motivation to pursue hobbies and fitness. The report says:
High levels of gambling are associated with a likelihood of mortality that is about one-third higher, for both men and women, younger and older.
In addition, the study reports that high levels of gambling are associated with financial damage and a 6% likelihood of future unemployment. Using data on more than 100,000 individuals, mean average spending resulted in £1345 per year on gambling. According to the report:
Higher gambling is associated with a higher rate of using an unplanned bank overdraft, missing a credit card, loan or mortgage payment, and taking a payday loan.
Nonetheless, Dr Naomi Muggleton highlights limitations of the study:
It’s unclear whether gambling causes negative outcomes, or whether already vulnerable people are disproportionately targeted by bookmakers, for example through advertising and locating betting shops in impoverished neighbourhoods
Dr Rachel Volberg, of the school of public health at the University of Massachusetts, brings to light the importance of such studies arguing:
This study represents a real leap in helping us understand gambling harms that will influence thinking in the gambling studies field and beyond.
As a result, the researchers issue a call for policymakers to address problem gambling by introducing more measures to detect and protect gamblers.
The findings echo research published by The Lancet earlier this month highlighting concerns over "urgent, neglected, and understudied" gambling problems.
Source: Oxford University
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