Researchers at the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, have conducted a study that sheds light on the prevalence of harmful gambling in England.

The report, “Gambling treatment need and support in England: main findings and methodology“, was commissioned by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), and was published today (7 December 2023) on It estimates that nearly 1.6 million adults in England may require some form of treatment or support for their gambling.

The study, which utilised data from the Health Survey for England and a Delphi consensus survey, identified the types of treatment and support that different groups of people who gamble might need. OHID and the research team grouped the support and treatment available for harmful gambling into six types:

  • Brief advice
  • Extended brief interventions
  • Psychosocial interventions delivered by voluntary sector services
  • Psychologist-led CBT
  • Intensive residential treatment
  • Peer support

The researchers estimated that there are 970,000 adults in England who might benefit from a ‘level 2 intensity’ treatment, which typically involves two or three sessions of motivational interviewing delivered by gambling-specialist practitioners. Around 243,000 adults might benefit from a ‘level 4 intensity’ treatment, which typically involves eight to fourteen sessions of psychologist-led cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for gambling disorder.

Almost 40,000 adults might benefit from the most intensive type of treatment, which typically involves a 12-week residential treatment programme including one-to-one therapy and group sessions.

Principal Investigator Dr Robert Pryce of Sheffield Addictions Research Group said:

“We are excited to release the findings of this study and are grateful to those who participated in the consensus survey. The estimates highlight the need for investment in gambling treatment and support services in England. They also demonstrate the variation in need across local authorities, which should be considered when allocating resources for treatment and support services.”

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