University of Bristol

Betting in the UK: How to tackle problem gambling



Spending (Problem Gambling)



October 2020 – October 2022

Grant Awarded



Project Summary

Investigate how to reduce gambling harm in the UK, specifically:

  • The impact of problem gamblers on wider family members and immediate networks such as close friends;
  • The effectiveness of existing ‘responsible gambling’ messages;
  • Assess easy access to cash within or near gambling outlets.


Problem gambling is an important public health issue which negatively affects the financial and general wellbeing of an estimated 700,000 adults and 55,000 children, those around them, communities and wider society.

Project Overview

The project will look at the issue of problem gambling in each of the following areas:


For every person with a gambling problem, between six and ten other people are estimated to be affected, including friends and family. The team will gain a better understanding of the family dynamics of problem gambling and its impact on ‘affected others’ to help improve support services.


The team will test the efficacy of existing ‘responsible gambling’ messages (e.g. slogans, adverts) and design and test possible alternatives. The research will be supported by the Behavioural Insights Team.


While some banks now offer gambling transaction blocks on bank cards, cash remains an easy way for high-risk gamblers to continue gambling. The researchers will gather new evidence around ease of access to cash within or near gambling outlets. This could help shape potential further interventions by the financial services industry (e.g. limiting cash withdrawals and the location of ATMs).