A public health approach into gambling-related harm would move the focus from the individual problem gambler to a much broader consideration of the causes of gambling-related harm that can be located within a wider framework of public health policies, according to the chair of the APG. The aim of the group was to address gambling- related harms in Northern Ireland.
The aim of the group was to address gambling- related harms in Northern Ireland. The current approach to gambling harm in Northern Ireland focuses on individual behaviours and attitudes, rather than addressing the wider issue as it believes a public health approach would.
Public health approaches act as action plans for areas of public concern, such as alcohol consumption and smoking.
The chair of the APG said that a public health approach into gambling-related harm would move the focus from the individual problem gambler to a much broader consideration of the causes of gambling-related harm that can be located within a wider framework of public health policies. Food addiction, smoking and alcoholism are some of the addictions that this approach has been used for.
Gambling should be officially recognised as a public health issue according to one of the key recommendations from the APG’s first inquiry on the future regulation of gambling.
There is a call for submissions regarding gambling harm in Northern Ireland
The group has issued a call for health professionals, advocacy group representatives, departmental officials, and those with lived experience to submit written evidence.
3 February 2023 is the deadline for submission of this evidence.
Gambling should be included in regulation that takes into account health, prevention of harm, and treatment. All relevant strategies for mental health and suicide prevention should includeambling addiction.
We are calling on health professionals, advocacy group representatives, academics, departmental officials and those with personal experience to take part in this inquiry.
There is an inquiry by APG 2021
The first inquiry by the APG was published in November of 2021. According to the report, there was support for gambling to be seen as a public health issue.
The Assembly’s gambling reform bill was supported by Northern Ireland’s Community Committee, which called for a dedicated gambling regulator to be put in place.
The reform bill was signed into law in April. The bill brought about changes that allow betting shops to open on Good Friday and Sundays. The betting shops will not be open on Christmas Day.
Areas of gambling policy, including online gambling, will be further addressed in a second bill.