Gambling research: The ‘fun’ can stop with unemployment, ill-health and even death

New research led by Dr Naomi Muggleton of Oxford's Department of Social Policy and Intervention has revealed that high levels of gambling are associated with a 37% increase in mortality, and that the top 1% of gamblers surveyed spent 58% of their income while one in ten are spending 8% on the habit. Published in Nature Human Behaviour, the study highlights the financial damage, negative lifestyles and health of gamblers, who can move from ‘social’ to high-level gambling in months.

Gambling has long been associated with addictive behaviour and financial problems, but the report reveals the association with a range of wide-ranging serious issues – including increased mortality. Calling for policymakers to do more to detect and protect the highest-spending gamblers, who can rapidly transition from moderate spending, the report says, ‘High levels of gambling are associated with a likelihood of mortality that is about one-third higher, for both men and women, younger and older.’