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New regulations aimed at reducing harm caused by gambling have come into force.

From today all land-based gambling operators must set out how they will reduce risks in their local area such as being located near a school or homeless shelter.

The Commission, the Local Government Association and licensing authorities, will work closely over the coming months to make sure that new requirement delivers benefits to consumers.

Rob Burkitt, Policy Development Manager, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with our licensing partners to bring in risk assessments.

“Local risk assessments give gambling operators a means to demonstrate how they are conducting or intend to conduct their business in a socially responsible manner.

“We want operators to think local and act local - to work with licensing authorities to ensure gambling is crime free, fair and open and children and vulnerable people are protected.”

Mr Burkitt gave several examples of information that may be included on risk assessments.

He said: "If there is a gambling premises adjacent to a bus stop which is used by college or school students between, say 3- 5 pm, the premises should ensure that staffing levels are adequate to mitigate the risk of underage access.

“If there is a gambling premises close to a homelessness hostel, the operator would ensure they have staff awareness training to ensure that homeless customers are not putting themselves at risk of harm.”

Mr Burkitt added: “We’re very keen on the use of all the tools available to protect children and vulnerable people and we hope to see more employment of technology such as that used in the Geofutures maps research.

“This innovative project explored which groups of people were more likely to be vulnerable to gambling harm and where these different groups of people were located – all invaluable information for conducting risk assessments.”

A Local Government Association spokesperson added: “The LGA strongly supports the introduction of new risk assessments for betting shops and other gambling premises, which will help protect those most at risk of addictive behaviour.

“Each business will have slightly different risks associated with it and different measures already in place, so the final assessments will look different for every premises.

“Many local councils are producing local area risk profiles to assist businesses as they draw up their assessments – these will typically plot points of risk such as schools, treatment centres or areas of significant deprivation.

“We hope that the gambling industry collectively rises to the occasion and demonstrates its commitment to social responsibility and preventing risky gambling behaviour.” 

Notes to editors 

  1. More information about how we regulate the gambling industry.
  2. Useful statistics on the gambling industry
  3. More information on prevention of money-laundering.

Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700 or email: communications@gamblingcommission.gov.uk 

Posted on 06 April 2016