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Working with the Criminal Justice System

The issue 

There are links between harmful gambling and crime, whether crime is committed to support gambling or to pay off gambling-related debts. Gambling related offending may include fraud, theft, domestic and financial abuse, and links into wider criminality or criminal circles. 

Research studies have found that people in contact with the criminal justice system (CJS) are more vulnerable than the general population to problem and disordered gambling (as well as other co-morbidity, addictions and mental health issues). 

However, there is a lack of funding, awareness, training, and pathways to support and treatment for people in the CJS experiencing gambling harms. 

One of the three key objectives of the UK Gambling Act 2005 relates to crime; preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime. 

It is, therefore, important that those who work across the CJS are aware, not only of the prevalence and nature of gambling within the CJS, and the links between crime and gambling, but also about the range of accessible support or treatment options for those affected by crime and gambling problems, or those at risk of gambling-related harms. 

Ensuring that individuals in the CJS have access to support for gambling problems and gambling-related harms will help to reduce harms for individuals, families, communities and society. 


What have we done? 

Across the UK, GamCare and our network partners have been providing training, support and specialised treatment within the CJS. We currently work with a number of police custody suites, courts, prisons and probation services in order to support individuals affected by gambling-related harm. 

We worked with the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Hertfordshire to provide a range of bespoke end to end services across the CJS, as part of a two-year pilot (to October 2020). You can read our summary report of this work here. 

We won the Howard League ‘Organisation of the Year Award 2020’ for our work in Hertfordshire, and we have contributed to the Howard League Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, which will run until 2022. You can read our evidence report, which outlines further the links between crime and gambling, where we provide support, recommendations for an improved treatment model and a whole systems approach, here 

We have developed a suite of support options for people in contact with the CJS. This is comprised of: 

  1. Access to the National Gambling Helpline 
  2. Support leaflets, free PDF’s of these are found below  
  3. An In-cell Workbook, a brief intervention resource, for people in prison  
  4. Where possible, one to one or group support, delivered by your local treatment provider.
  5. We have created a report of our activities for 20-21 which you can read here.   

Resources to Download 

Please contact [email protected] to order these materials.

Managing your Gambling in Prison leaflet

Managing your Gambling on Release from Prison leaflet

Managing your Gambling on Probation leaflet

Poster for Probation Services

Poster for Prison Services

Screening Cards for Prisons

Support for Family and Friends

Screening Card for Community Settings

Additionally, in response to COVID-19, we have created an in cell activity pack for those within the criminal justice system, which can also be printed off for prisoners to work from in their cells. 

Please contact [email protected] to order any of these materials.  

What are we currently doing? 

GamCare has received two years’ funding to scale up delivery of its programme to raise awareness and develop pathways to support for people experiencing gambling harms across the CJS. 

The funding, approved by the UK Gambling Commissionwill allow GamCare’s Criminal Justice team to deliver a larger programme of engagement and awareness raising, designed to raise the profile of gambling and offending, and to improve services for those in contact with the CJS.  

Read more about the new funding, here. 

For more information about our work with the CJS, contact the Programme Manager Chris Walker, on [email protected] 




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