Councillors have supported Nottingham’s first-ever gambling harm strategy to tackle the issue in the city.
The “ambitious” five-year strategy will focus on regulation, knowledge and awareness and support.
As part of the strategy, the council will review and update its gambling licensing policy to ensure that businesses are “responsibly preventing and
responding to gambling-related harm”.
The authority will also review its advertising and sponsorship policy in relation to gambling.
Councillors backed the strategy at Nottingham City Council’s health and wellbeing board on July 26.
Chair of the board Cllr Adele Williams (Lab) said the strategy needed to “catch people” before they reach crisis point.
She added: “We saw a map of Nottingham and the more deprived a population was, the more gambling venues there were.
“I am interested to know what appetite there is to promote support services in the industry.
“We have this strange thing where Gamble Aware is actually funded by the industry.
“It doesn’t actually encourage people to stop because that’s not what they’re about.
“You very much get the sense that people are in crisis point before they reach out.
“What we’re looking to do is to catch people way before that. I think that is the big challenge of the strategy. Other than that I think it’s extremely comprehensive.”
Mike Saunders, Specialty Registrar in Public Health, said a ‘health needs assessment’ was carried out which fed into the strategy.
He said: “Gambling-related harm is a highly stigmatised problem where people commonly lead double lives and keep the harm they are experiencing a secret.
“We also learned there are parts of Nottingham where gambling premises are clustered and the population possess characteristics that place them of greater risk of harm.
“We have applied these findings in developing a strategy.
“Our vision is that Nottingham city will be a place where people are protected from gambling harm and can access and receive support.”
Cllr Cheryl Barnard (Lab) said: “I really welcome this, especially looking at areas of deprivation.
“There is concern about saturation levels. In Bulwell, there is another gambling premises opening when there are already four or five within a short proximity.
“It seems they are preying on some people who think it is the only way out of poverty.”
National survey data when applied to Nottingham City, estimates that approximately 4,500 people aged 16 and over and 1,000 in-school 11-16-year-olds show signs of a gambling problem.
A recent health needs assessment completed by the authority showed that support services are “underutilised” in the city.
Only 48 people in an entire year requested support through a helpline in Nottingham, despite the “huge scale, problem and need” in the city.