'Gambling addict' hotspots found in Manchester and London

map of gambling risk in manchester Image copyright Geofutures
Image caption Those at most risk of gambling-related harm are shown on the dark red spots of the map

Maps showing where people are at most risk of gambling-related harm have been produced by two local authorities.

Manchester and Westminster City Councils have created the maps based on "factors of vulnerability" such as mental health or drug problems.

The location of facilities such as drug and alcohol treatment centres are also shown.

New regulations being introduced in April require gambling premises to prepare a local area risk assessment.

The Manchester and Westminster indexes, produced with Geofutures, aim to help understand the potential impact of gambling premises.

Gambling operators could put in place more staff to spot those struggling with gambling, more security staff, changes in opening hours, or even financial support to care providers in an area, the councils said.

'Cutting edge'

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council's executive member for neighbourhoods, said: "People living with gambling problems do not draw attention to themselves, and the issue has been very hard for authorities to deal with because so little is known about who these people are.

"This is a cutting-edge piece of research that has never been done before, and will enable us to understand who is at risk of developing a gambling problem and where these groups can be found."

Image copyright Geofutures
Image caption The two local councils had similar concerns about gambling so worked together to map at-risk individuals within the two cities

The councils said they would be able to use the research to develop new policies.

Chairman of Westminster's licensing committee, Councillor Nickie Aiken, said: ""We are not against the gambling industry per se, but we think that it is important to understand the impact on areas in which they operate.

"It is in the best interests of those running gambling premises to reduce these negative impacts."

Regulatory body the Gambling Commission said the research was a "significant milestone" and it would continue to work closely with all concerned.

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