UK prison reform charity, the ‘Howard League for Penal Reform’ has launched a new commission investigating links between problem gambling and criminal behaviours.
The Howard League has disclosed that the first meeting of its ‘Commission on Crime & Problem Gambling’ took place in London on 20 June, kick-starting a three-year research project led by Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith QC as Commission Chair.
In its mandate, the Commission will bring academics, betting professionals, public health experts and industry stakeholders investigating ‘patterns of crime linked to problem gambling, and the societal harms that connect the two’.
The Commission’s work, research and evidence will be made available to the UK government, gambling leadership and criminal justice system stakeholders.
The new body will look at the driving forces influencing change and practice, including legislation, politics and the media. It will engage with industry and political leaders throughout its work.
Lord Goldsmith QC, Chair of the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, said: “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.
“Our commission will seek to establish what the links are; what impact they have on communities and wider society; and, crucially, what steps could be taken to reduce crime and make people safer.”
The Howard League has published the 15 appointed commissioners, who will work with Lord Goldsmith on the criminal research project, which includes former Betfair enterprise co-founder Andrew Black, represented as an industry expert.
- Dr Jamie Bennett, Governor of Long Lartin prison
- Andrew Black – Co-founder of Betfair
- Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, – Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic
- Matt Burton – Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Cheshire Police
- Dr John Chisholm CBE, Chair, Medical Ethics Committee, British Medical Association
- Jon Collins, Chief Executive, Magistrates Association
- Frances Crook OBE, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform
- Elizabeth Morony, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP
- Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns, Howard League for Penal Reform
- Neil Platt, Clinical Director, Beacon Counselling Trust
- Sarah Ramanauskas, Senior Partner, Audit and Research, Gambling Integrity
- Professor Gerda Reith, Professor of Social Science, University of Glasgow
- Councillor Norma Stephenson OBE, Councillor, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
- Sue Wade OBE, former chief probation officer
The UK Gambling Commission has stated its support for Howard League research on the complex subject, UKGC Executive Director Tim Miller stating:
“This independent Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will fill a significant gap in understanding the relationship between gambling harms and crime. “
“We support the Howard League’s evidence-based and comprehensive approach and anticipate that the recommendations from the Commission will help us make better and faster progress in delivering the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.”