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September 8, 2022
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ADPH highlights link between gambling and suicide

Every year, over 400 lives are lost to gambling in England alone, representing a significant percentage of suicides, with many more lives at risk of serious harm.

As people around the world prepare to mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday 10 September, The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) are highlighting the link between gambling and suicide and urging the Government to protect people from being exploited by the gambling industry.  

Earlier this year, ADPH Vice-President Greg Fell, who will tomorrow be taking part in Gambling with Lives’ ‘Big Step’ walk, made a series of recommendations to the Government in a letter co-authored by the Faculty of Public Health and sent ahead of the publication of the Gambling Act review. 

Among the recommendations were:

  • a commitment to sustainable funding of public health measures that are not based on industry-funded research to address gambling harms.
  • tighter regulation of marketing and promotion within the gambling industry.
  • the formation of an alliance of trusted partners to help inform evidence-based policy that has public health at its core.

Fell, who is also Director of Public Health for Sheffield, said:

“Every year, hundreds of lives are being lost as a direct result of gambling, which has sadly become normalised and increasingly easy to access. The fact that children and young people are so readily exposed is creating a cycle where society is increasingly engaging with ostensibly ‘fun’ pursuits that can have very real and harmful consequences.

“While the gambling industry is keen to focus on personal responsibility, the industry itself, along with policy and decision makers have a far bigger role in exposing the public to these harmful products and services.

“Like with tobacco, this industry must be regulated properly to minimise – and ultimately put a stop to – the significant proportion of suicides that are currently caused by gambling.”


Notes to editors:

  • The Big Step is being held in special remembrance of Kimberly Wadsworth from Leeds who was 32 when she took her life in 2018 after becoming addicted to gambling, and all those who have lost their lives to gambling related suicide.  The walk will take in five football clubs over the two days. More information about the Big Step, which seeks to end gambling advertising in football, can be found at here
  • A full transcript of the letter to the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy) can be found at here.
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