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20 Jun 2019

Howard League to launch Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling

A major commission to investigate the links between crime and problem gambling will be launched by the Howard League for Penal Reform today (Thursday 20 June 2019).

The Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling will run for three years with the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, as Chair. It will issue a call for evidence and hold its first business meeting in London today.

Lord Goldsmith QC will lead a team of 15 commissioners, bringing 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.

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.

It 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.

Lord Goldsmith QC, Chair of the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling, said: “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.

“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.”

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

“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.”


Lord Goldsmith QC, PC (Chair)

Dr Jamie Bennett, Governor of Long Lartin prison

Andrew Black, Co-founder of Betfair

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, FRCPsych, BA (Hons), DOccMed, MD (Imperial), Founder and Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Matt Burton, Cheshire Police

Dr John Chisholm CBE, Chair, Medical Ethics Committee, British Medical Association

Jon Collins, Chief Executive, Magistrates Association

Frances Crook OBE, Chief Executive, Howard League for Penal Reform

Elizabeth Morony, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP

Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns, Howard League for Penal Reform

Neil Platt, Clinical Director, Beacon Counselling Trust

Sarah Ramanauskas, Senior Partner, Audit and Research, Gambling Integrity

Professor Gerda Reith, Professor of Social Science, University of Glasgow

Councillor Norma Stephenson OBE, Councillor, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Sue Wade OBE, former chief probation officer

Notes to editors

  1. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
  1. More information about the Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling can be found on the Howard League website.


Rob Preece
Campaigns and Communications Manager
Howard League for Penal Reform
Tel: +44 (0)20 7241 7880
Mobile: +44 (0)7714 604955

ISDN line available on 020 7923 4196 – uses a G722 system

For enquiries outside normal office hours, please call +44 (0)7918 681094

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