The project will add to existing research from think tanks and public health officials to cultivate a “comprehensive economic assessment of gambling activity and harm”.
NIESR’s research team will be assisted by an advisory board consisting of ten leading academic economists and health experts.
NIESR’s deputy director and research lead on the project, professor Adrian Pabst, said: “Gambling is an important part of the UK’s economic and social landscape, but we do not have a sufficiently accurate understanding of its benefits and costs, notably the economic costs of gambling-related harm.
“We welcome this opportunity to conduct a rigorous assessment and help build an impartial evidence base. Changes to the gambling legislation and the regulatory framework should be driven by independent research, especially at a time when legislators and policymakers face a tension between demands to grow the industry and calls to minimise harm.”
Funded by a regulatory settlement approved by the GB Gambling Commission, NIESR hopes that the project will form crucial evidence in the ongoing Gambling Act Review, due to be completed later this year.
Advisory board chair Dr James Noyes added: “The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has an unparalleled reputation when it comes to the analysis of complex economic activity. I am delighted that NIESR is bringing its considerable expertise to the question of gambling-related harm.
“At a time when gambling legislation is under review, government relies on independent research organisations such as NIESR to build a credible evidence base. Assisted by some of the country’s leading economists, I believe that this project has the potential to make an authoritative contribution to both the scientific and policy debate.”