January 24, 2024 3 min read

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Guernsey Faces Health Fallout as Gambling Impact Assessment Raises Alarms

The results of a recent study suggest that Guernsey exhibited a greater proportion of individuals engaging in gambling activities compared to its neighboring jurisdictions

A recent Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on gambling in Guernsey, conducted by the Public Health Institute at Liverpool John Moores University, has raised concerns about the health implications of the island’s gambling habits. The study, commissioned in 2019, examined the prevalence and impact of gambling on the local population.

The findings indicate that Guernsey had a higher percentage of gamblers compared to its neighboring jurisdictions, with 79.9% of respondents engaging in gambling activities over the previous year. This surpasses the figures for the Isle of Man at 75.9% and Great Britain at 57%. 

The most popular form of gambling was the Channel Islands Christmas Lottery, with 67.5% participation, followed closely by the purchase of scratch cards.

Dr. Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health, expressed her concerns, stating that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing economic challenges may have exacerbated the trends identified in 2019/2020. She suggested that the current situation might be more severe than the study indicates, given the added pressures of the pandemic.

The HIA employed a mixed-methods approach, including a postal survey, qualitative interviews with stakeholders and gamblers, and a stakeholder workshop. The research, conducted between September 2019 and February 2020, faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the publication of the report at the start of 2024.

Key findings from the study revealed that gamblers exhibited a higher prevalence of poor health indicators compared to non-gamblers, including issues such as overweight/obesity, regular GP visits, tobacco smoking, binge drinking, violence victimization, and perpetration. 

Notably, scratch card usage in Guernsey stood out, with 46.3% engaging in this activity compared to 29.3% in the Isle of Man and 21% in Great Britain.

While the majority of gamblers do not experience problems, the study identified 6.7% of Guernsey adults as ‘at-risk’ gamblers and 0.9% as ‘problem’ gamblers. At-risk gambling was more prevalent among males and the 18-24 age group, indicating potential issues for the future.

Jenny Cataroche, Head of Public Health Intelligence, emphasized that the report provided a better understanding of gambling in Guernsey, highlighting that actions to address at-risk and problem gambling could have positive effects on individuals, as well as their families and communities.

The report recommends various measures, including raising awareness of the harms of problem gambling in school-based education settings, enhancing support for at-risk and problem gamblers, clarifying pathways to access support, and considering policy and legislation changes to protect vulnerable islanders.

In response, STSB Senior Lottery Officer, Jon Taylor, affirmed their commitment to promoting responsible play, announcing initiatives to address the concerns raised by the study and conducting additional research to inform the future direction of the Channel Islands Lottery.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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