Leeds & West Yorkshire

Gambling: 'Thousands at risk' in Leeds

Online gambling Image copyright Inpho
Image caption There are an estimated 30,000 people at risk because of their gambling in Leeds, the report says.

Thousands of people could be at risk of harm from their gambling behaviour, a city council report has found.

The report, published by Leeds City Council, estimates the city already has about 10,000 problem gamblers.

Its authors say young people, those on low incomes and adults with mental health issues could be most at risk.

A further 30,000 people may be at risk of harm from gambling says the paper which uses research by Leeds Beckett University.

It follows the opening of the Leeds Gambling Clinic last month - a new support service for people suffering from problem gambling in the city, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The service, which opened in September, is a collaboration between charity GamCare, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) and the city council.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Young people, those on low incomes and adults with mental health issues could be most at risk, the report published by Leeds City Council says

"Whilst work to address financial exclusion and poverty is well developed and coordinated in the city, less was known about problem gambling and gambling-related harm," the Leeds Beckett report said.

"At risk" generally refers to people who are experiencing some difficulties with their gambling behaviour but are not considered to be problem gamblers, it added.

The research estimated there were about 10,000 problem gamblers in Leeds - 1.8 % of the adult population - and a further 30,000 people - 5-6% of the adult population - who may be at risk of harm from gambling.

The report also found it was difficult to accurately identify problem gamblers due to low levels of self-reporting and "what some regarded as avoidance or shame about the causes of gambling-related harms".

A Gambling Commission report published in February, based on data from 14,000 people across England, Scotland and Wales, found 46% had gambled within four weeks of being questioned and 0.7% were classed as problem gamblers.

The survey found 1.1% of the people interviewed were classed as being at moderate risk and 2.4% as low risk gamblers.

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