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Institute of Public Health in Ireland. (2010) Developing a population approach to gambling. Dublin: Institute of Public Health in Ireland.

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The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has developed this briefing paper to inform reviews of gambling legislation in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The paper presents key points highlighting links between gambling and health and potential harm associated with problem gambling. It provides suggestions on the policy approach and practice change required to minimise potential harm from gambling. 

Key messages:

  1. There is little information on the prevalence of gambling and problem gambling across the island of Ireland.
  2. Estimated figures suggest between 0.6 and 1 per cent of the population experience problems related to gambling.
  3. Participation in gambling appears to be increasing.
  4. Participation in gambling can be seen as a continuum from those who do not participate at all to those who are addicted.
  5. Gambling can negatively affect significant areas of a person’s life, including mental and physical health, employment, finances and relationships with others.
  6. Only a small proportion of those who gamble run into difficulty but for those who do there is a ripple effect with implications for family and community health and wellbeing.
  7. Adopting a population based screening tool for gambling can help to understand and determine the extent of gambling in society.
  8. A population approach is required to understand the prevalence of problem gambling, minimise harm including potential social costs and protect vulnerable groups.
  9. Adolescent gambling is thought to be 2-3 times the rate of adults.
  10. From an economic perspective, evidence suggests that the health and social costs of problem gambling exceed government revenue gained from gambling taxes and businesses.
Item Type
December 2010
8 p.
Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Corporate Creators
Institute of Public Health in Ireland
Place of Publication

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