The UK Gambling Commission has unveiled a new national strategy built around the twin pillars of prevention and education aiming to reduce the harm caused by gambling.
The new initiative has a three-year timeframe and will unite health bodies, charities, regulators and businesses to tackle gambling-related issues and have a long-lasting impact. The strategy will include a public health prevention plan as well as prevention and support. Additionally, the UK GC will look into establishing a new national research centre and data repository.
Chairman of the Gambling Commission, William Moyes, explained: “This new strategy will provide us and our partners the opportunity to make faster progress to reduce gambling harms. It will not just benefit the health and well-being of those directly affected and in need of support, but also those such as friends, families, communities and wider society.
“The success of this strategy relies on everyone working together to reduce gambling harms through prevention and education, and treatment and support. Everyone has a role to play to combat gambling harms, and I’m delighted that the health sector, charities and businesses are showing their commitment to get behind the strategy and make it a success.
“We all need to better understand the harms that can be caused by gambling, moving away from simply counting problem gamblers and instead build a greater understanding of the harms experienced. Over the lifetime of the strategy we will better understand the full range of harms and how to protect against them.’’
Concurrently Public Health England will conduct a review of all evidence in England of the harm that is caused by gambling, investigating the scale and range of its impact on health and well-being.
The director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at Public Health England, Rosanna O’Connor commented on the news: “PHE welcomes the strategy’s commitment to taking a public health approach to gambling related harms.
“There is an urgent need to develop a better understanding of these harms and how best to respond to them, and PHE has been commissioned by Government to undertake a comprehensive independent evidence review on the public health harms of gambling.
“In addition, the National Institute for Health Research has commissioned a complementary review of the effectiveness of policies and interventions for reducing gambling-related harm, which will form part of PHE’s report. Our full evidence review is expected in spring next year.”
The CEO of GambleAware, Marc Etches, says this is an important step forward for the UK: “Gambling is a serious public health issue, and we welcome the importance the Gambling Commission has placed on collaboration between organisations to help reduce gambling harms.
“GambleAware has a central role in commissioning core elements of the National Strategy, including the research programme and the emerging National Gambling Treatment Service, working with the NHS and others to help direct people to the right intervention.”
Read more about UK Gambling Law and Licensing here.