The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) announced it would be spearheading an ambitious project that would seek to measure the cost of gambling harm on the society and economy.
Simulating Different Outcomes to Arrive at a Cost Estimate
Britain’s oldest independent economic research institute NIESR will seek to provide an estimate of the benefits and costs of gambling, paying special attention to gambling-related harm for individuals, communities and the wider society, to contribute to the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Funded by a regulatory settlement approved by the Gambling Commission, the project will seek to build on previous research in the field carried out by think tanks and public health organizations by utilizing NIESR’s unique modeling capabilities to offer a comprehensive assessment.
Commenting on the project, NIESR’s deputy director and research lead on the project professor Adrian Pabst underlined the importance to have a “sufficiently accurate understanding” of benefits and cost from gambling and more specifically, gambling-harm costs, as gambling becomes an “important part of the UK’s economic and social landscape.”
“We welcome this opportunity to conduct a rigorous assessment and help build an impartial evidence base. Changes to the gambling legislation and the regulatory framework should be driven by independent research, especially at a time when legislators and policymakers face a tension between demands to grow the industry and calls to minimize harm.”
Professor Adrian Pabst, Deputy Director, NIESR
NIESR will utilize its modeling capabilities to simulate the impact of different policy choices, among which specific scenarios of not intervening in particular forms of gambling to come up with a complete measurement of the economic effects of gambling.
Research in Line with the National Strategy to Reduce Harm
An Advisory Board of ten leading academic economists and health experts will be supporting the research to ensure it is in line with the wider policy debate and the objectives of the National Strategy to Reduce Harm.
Outlining NIESR’s “unparalleled reputation” in the field of complex economic activity analysis, chair of the Advisory Board Dr. James Noyes was excited to leverage the institute’s “considerable expertise” and tackle the issue of gambling-related harm.
“At a time when gambling legislation is under review, Government relies on independent research organizations such as NIESR to build a credible evidence base. Assisted by some of the country’s leading economists, I believe that this project has the potential to make an authoritative contribution to both the scientific and policy debate.”
Dr. James Noyes, Chair, Advisory Board
Also commenting on the project, professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, President of Psychiatry at the Royal Society of Medicine and member of the Advisory Board, reiterated the need for a “true understanding” of the financial burden of gambling-related harm at both individual and societal level, expressing her “full trust in NIESR’s ability to lead” the project, whose findings will have “significant repercussions at political, public health and …human level” for the future.
The project will release a report of its findings in the early summer to facilitate lawmakers, Treasury and officials while preparing the Gambling Review White Paper.