A new report by Bradford Council is shocking all as it is revealing the grim situation of the gambling industry in the city. The most deprived areas in Bradford hold over three-quarters of all gambling premises in the region. The city currently has 83 gambling premises. The report further suggests that even though thousands of people in the district could qualify as “problem gamblers,” the Council or NHS still doesn’t fund any specialist treatment services for this population.
The Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee will meet on Thursday, and members will be called to develop a district profile that will help highlight areas that hold the highest risk of gambling-related issues. The report will be tabled during the meeting. It suggests that gambling can be enjoyed by a majority of the population without any risks or harm. However, the harms related to gambling can “affect anyone at any time,” and a number of players can experience consistent difficulties with their gambling behavior.
The report further states that gambling behavior and problem gambling issues are not distributed equally across England. Problems are significantly higher in areas defined as ‘industrial, traditional manufacturing and multi-cultural.’
The 83 total gambling premises located in Bradford consist of 61 bookmakers, four bingo halls and three casinos. Some of them are located in town centers and city centers while others are concentrated in the more deprived areas of the city. The map presented to the committee shows areas with their index of multiple deprivation rank by the Office of National Statistics and the location of gambling premises.
According to the national benchmark of the index of multiple deprivations, 32.5% of lower super output areas qualify as “most deprived.” Gambling premises are often located near sources of credit like payday lenders in less-empowered neighborhoods. People who come here to gamble may already be financially excluded. About 44.5% of the gambling premises in Bradford are located in an LSOA in the most deprived category while a whopping 78.3% are located in an LSOA ranked amongst the top three in most deprived rankings.
Bradford could be home to an estimated 2,500 to 7,000 problem gamblers. There is only one specialist service for these people- Krysallis, and it holds weekly sessions only. The service dealt with 143 people last year. If the committee decides to create a Local Area Profile for gambling, then the council will build a framework to raises awareness of harms related to gambling. It would also promote support organizations and send problem gamblers to referral pathways and available treatment.