Understanding problem gambling better may help to stem the tide of abuse and harm. According to a UK report from the Howard League for Penal Reform, we don’t know enough about the relationship of crime to problem gambling.
The charitable organization behind the report aims to build safer communities and lesson the burden on prisons. The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling has revealed a number of issues in their recent study.
In a nutshell, millions are consumed by gambling across the globe, but little research has been done regarding the role of crime. Targeting the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia, Germany and Australasia, the report identifies high rates of crimes to fund gambling.
It can be white collar crime like theft and fraud, but also robberies, domestic abuse and child neglect. It is a pathological problem of considerable dimensions. Gambling addiction a behavioral disorder among a variety of mental health problems like drugs and alcohol.
Treatment, especially in prison with vulnerable populations, is questionable. During incarceration, little can be done to limit further harm. Research will be required to establish more effective measures and prevent relapse.
The Howard League is taking on the role. The first project will tackle the prevalence of gambling-related crime, while the second will look at the people caught up in the system. The third research phase will deal with the official and judicial awareness of the issue.
The goal is to assess community and societal impact of gambling-related crime. The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will be led by Lord Goldsmith QC. According to Lord Goldsmith,
“Concern about harmful gambling activity has been growing for some time, but this is the first commission to focus specifically on the relationship between problem gambling and crime.”
It is a major challenge that entails interventions and better inroads into public safety.