Intended for healthcare professionals


Betting your life on it

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 04 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1055
  1. Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies (
  1. International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Department of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4BU

    Problem gambling has clear health related consequences

    The United Kingdom is about to undergo one of the most radical changes of gambling legislation in its history. The new gambling bill will provide the British public with increased opportunities and access to gambling like they have never seen before. Gambling legislation will be revolutionised, and many of the tight restrictions on gambling dating back to the 1968 Gaming Act will be relaxed. As a result the number of casinos will increase, and Las Vegas type casinos will be introduced in resorts such as Blackpool. The deregulation of gambling is also coupled with the many new media in which people can gamble. As a consequence of technological innovation, people in the United Kingdom now have access to internet, interactive television, and mobile phone gambling. Given the expected explosion in gambling opportunities, is this something that the medical profession should be concerned about?

    Gambling has not been traditionally viewed as a public health matter, and research into the health, social, and economic impacts of gambling is still in its infancy.13 Just under 1% of the British population have a severe gambling problem, although the rate is about twice as high in …

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