Gambling-related harm

We are identifying those at risk of gambling related harm

We are identifying those at risk of gambling related harm

The Background

Gambling (which may be defined as wagering on an uncertain outcome, usually for money) is as old as time itself. While many people enjoy an occasional bet on the football or a trip to the casino without experiencing any adverse consequences, some people do find it difficult to limit their gambling.

The method

Our research aims to identify those who may be at risk of gambling related harm, to investigate the neuro-behavioural mechanisms underlying the onset and maintenance of gambling problems, and to find ways of developing innovative forms of clinical treatment.

We adopt a translational perspective in which gambling problems or specific features of gambling games are modelled experimentally in the lab to get an empirical handle on the underlying behavioural mechanisms before extension and real-world applications. We:

  • Use computer-simulated gambling, choice and decision-making paradigms with a range of neuroimaging measures (e.g., fMRI, MRS) in people with and without gambling problems.
  • Survey and interview people dealing with gambling problems and their affected others to chart the prevalence or extent of the problem with certain populations (e.g., military veterans and currently serving personnel).
  • Explore how best to support and maintain recovery from a gambling problem by, for instance, incentivising abstinence and the support of others.


  • Our work has been cited in evidence given to committees in the House of Commons, House of Lords, and Senedd Cymru.
  • Our work conducted by the world’s first ever Centre for Military Gambling Research (MILGAM), such as the UK Veterans Health and Gambling Study, has been cited in debates on the Armed Forces Bill, featured in annual reports of the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, the Welsh Government’s Armed Forces Covenant, and in statements from the Health Minister for Wales.
  • Our calls for NHS gambling clinics in Wales, published in The Lancet and Frontiers in Psychiatry, place us at the forefront of developments in how the proposed statutory levy on the gambling industry will be leveraged to fund research, prevention, and treatment.
UN Sustainable goal - health
Text reads Swansea University Research Themes