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Closer - The home of longitudinal research

Gambling behaviours

A row of gambling slot machinesLongitudinal population studies are uniquely placed to explore the factors that cause people to start, continue and stop gambling at different points in their lives, help to understand more about how people move in and out of harmful play and treatment, and examine changes over time and across generations. 

Key messages

  • Research using data from longitudinal population studies found that problem gambling behaviours are associated with poor mental health, involvement in crime and potentially harmful use of drugs and alcohol. It also highlights that the only gambling activity of study participants showing a consistent increase is online gambling and betting. 
  • There is limited research examining gambling prevalence and behaviours in the UK and the associated social and economic costs and benefits. This lack of independent research affects the ability of academics and policymakers to understand fully the impacts of gambling to individuals and society as a whole. New research is needed to explore and understand how individual gamblers’ behaviour changes over time.  
  • When designing interventions for problem gambling, it is important to recognise the relationship between other factors that may be associated with this type of behaviour, including mental health and the home environment. 


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