New commission to investigate problem gambling and crime link

20 June 2019

Betfair co-founder Andrew Black and former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith are among the members of a new commission to advise government on the links between crime and problem gambling in the UK.

The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, which has been launched by the Howard League for Penal Reform, will run for three years and issue a call for evidence when it holds its first business meeting in London today (June 20).

The commission will investigate patterns of crime linked to problem gambling, and the societal harms that connect the two, before seeking to make recommendations for government, the gambling industry and within the criminal justice system.

The 16-strong commission will be chaired by Lord Goldsmith, a Cabinet member from 2001-07, and bring together academics and professionals with expertise in the criminal justice system and public health as well as experts with knowledge of the gambling industry and lived experience of addiction. Black (pictured) launched Betfair with Edward Wray in 2000 and is now a noted angel investor in technology businesses.

“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," Lord Goldsmith said.

“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 commission 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.

The creation of the body was welcomed by the Gambling Commission.

“This independent Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will fill a significant gap in understanding the relationship between gambling harms and crime,” said Tim Miller, executive director at the Gambling Commission.

“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.”