People are being urged to have their say on changes to the council’s gambling policy during a three-month public consultation that launched last week.
The aim of the proposed changes is to ensure the updated policy is more responsive to issues around problem gambling. Last year, Leeds City Council commissioned research from Leeds Beckett University in order to understand the extent of problem gambling across the city, identify which groups are most vulnerable to problem gambling and to assess the availability of specialist support and referral services to help those affected.
The policy has been updated to reflect findings from the research, which concluded that there are over 10,000 people in Leeds who could be identified as ‘problem gamblers’ and a further 30,000 people who may be ‘at risk of harm’ from it.
The research identified a number of groups in society that could be considered vulnerable to problem gambling, including young people, minority ethnic groups, unemployed people, people with a lower income, people living in more deprived areas, homeless people, and those suffering from ill mental health.
In order to protect these vulnerable groups, changes have been made to the requirements of the risk assessments that have to be completed when applying to Leeds City Council for a gambling licence for a premises.
The risk assessment will need to consider the proximity of the premises to areas people from vulnerable groups are likely to be, for example schools and playgrounds, places with high levels of deprivation and places with known problems arising from street drinkers, anti-social behaviour, and drug dealing. It will also need to consider the demographics of the area generally in relation to the vulnerable groups identified.
The new policy will also ensure risk assessments consider how vulnerable people, including people with gambling dependencies, are protected. This ranges from ensuring staff are properly trained to intervene when customers show signs of excessive gambling, to monitoring gaming trends that may mirror days for financial payments such as paydays or benefit payments.
A number of other changes are being made and you are encouraged to read the full consultation document at www.leeds.gov.uk/gpc
Councillor James Lewis, executive member for resources and sustainability at Leeds City Council said:
“Problem gambling can damage people’s lives and impact negatively on their relationships and the communities around them. Now that we have research identifying those most at risk of a gambling addition, we are able to update our policy to ensure they are as protected as possible. We really want to hear people’s views on these changes and I invite everyone to get involved with the consultation.”
People are being asked to share their thoughts on the policy changes by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Entertainment Licensing, Leeds City Council, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR.
The consultation is live now and will run until 5 August 2018.
Help and support for people suffering from problem gambling is available via the Leeds Money Information Centre website www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmic the National Gambling Helpline freephone 0808 8020 133, or the Be Gamble Aware website www.begambleaware.org