A photo of a betting shop in Greater Manchester

Gambling harms in Greater Manchester

Gambling is often described as a hidden harm. We know this harm affects one in 15 residents in Greater Manchester and we can not allow it to be overlooked. For the first time ever, our strategic needs assessment brings together the best available local and national evidence to describe the extent and impact of gambling related harms in Greater Manchester.

Harms associated with gambling include mental ill health, relationship breakdown, poor performance at work or school and financial difficulties. Harms may be experienced by the person who gambles or by family, friends and colleagues of someone who gambles (‘affected others’). Gambling may not be the sole cause of these harms – in some cases gambling may be a used as a coping mechanism – however we know that gambling addiction and harm can exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. While harms can happen very quickly, we know that recovery can take a long time, with some harms leaving an intergenerational legacy.

Our needs assessment

Headline findings for Greater Manchester

  • One in 15 Greater Manchester residents are experiencing the impacts of gambling harm, when harms experienced by children, friends and families are considered
  • There are 18,100 adults experiencing gambling harms living in Greater Manchester. This is 1.5x higher than the national average
  • The estimate economic burden of gambling across Greater Manchester is at least £80million in 2022
  • Gambling can have serious consequences for finances, relationships and health
  • Greater Manchester Police respond to at least one incident per week where serious concern has been raised of a risk of suicide directly associated with gambling
  • A quarter of residents who gamble report going without food because of a lack of money
  • There are multiple social, environmental and commercial influences which drive gambling related harms

Front cover of the needs assessment showing title and image of a man walking into a crowd

To learn more about the extent and impact of gambling related harms in Greater Manchester, view the full needs assessment (PDF, 10.3MB).

Our action plan

The GMCA’s work is supported by the Gambling Commission as part of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms (external site) and funded by a regulatory settlement with an industry operator.


To learn more about our plans to address gambling harms in Greater Manchester, view the full action plan for 2023-2026 (PDF, 1.6MB).

Supporting documents

The following documents are available to provide further insight into the methodology used 

We are grateful to the residents of Greater Manchester for bravely sharing their experiences of gambling and the lasting impact this has had on them and their loved ones. These stories illustrate the reality of gambling related harms behind the statistics.

In 2021 Public Health England has published a comprehensive review of evidence looking at the impact of gambling related harm in England. 

Where can I find out more?

Chapter One

Chapter One is an information, training and support hub for everyone affected by gambling. If you’re worried about gambling, for yourself or someone you know, go to the Chapter One website where you can find more information about gambling harms and where to get support and treatment that works. There’s never been a better time to do so.

Our ask of the UK Government

Robust national regulation is needed to protect people from harm in an increasingly online environment. We are working with residents and campaigners to put pressure on Government to proactively prevent and reduce gambling related harms.

The UK Government is currently undertaking a long overdue review of gambling regulation. We set our priorities for action in a response to a DCMS committee inquiry into gambling regulation. The Government is currently consulting on a series of proposals outlined in a White Paper (High Stakes: gambling reform for the digital age).

GMCA welcomes the inclusion of gambling within the Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy: 2023 to 2028. We will work alongside DCMS, DHSC, Gambling Commission, NICE, the Local Government Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to ensure that milestones committed to in the strategy are effectively delivered to prevent suicides related to gambling.