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Licensing authority returns portal remains open

Many thanks to the LAs that have already submitted their 2019/20 annual return. The deadline for submission has now passed. However the portal remains open so if you have not already submitted please endeavour to do so.  We appreciate that Local Authorities are still heavily impacted by the fight against Covid-19 and many of you may still be working from home, however we would be grateful for as much data as you are able to provide.  

Please remember that the passcode will only work with a registered user email address. The passcode is specific to your LA not to an individual so multiple email addresses can be registered per LA, but we would encourage you to register your licensing@ email address, if you have not already done so.

Please contact lareturns@gamblingcommisison.gov.uk if you have not received any correspondence about the annual returns.

National Strategic Assessment published

The Gambling Commission has published its first ever National Strategic Assessment.

The document uses the latest available evidence, from a wide range of sources and case studies, to assess the issues and the risks gambling presents to consumers and the public. It sets out the Commission’s priority actions to address those risks and issues, as well as highlighting a number of areas where significant progress is already made to make gambling safer.

As a part of the report the Commission states, in relation to premises based underage gambling, ‘We will continue to support those licensing authorities, local police or trading standards who undertake test purchasing in response to heightened risk or as part of their general legal and regulatory oversight.’

Alongside this it has published the latest Compliance and Enforcement Report – some headline data being:

  • Commencing reviews on 49 people who hold personal licences to operate gambling businesses
  • Suspending five operating licences
  • Revoking 11 operating licences
  • Issuing 12 financial penalty packages of regulatory settlements – totalling over £30 million.
  • Carrying out 234 security audits and 33 website reviews
  • Conducting 350 compliance assessments of land-based and online operators

Wigan Council’s work to reduce gambling harm

Although Wigan are not the only LA to introduce a webpage for their citizens about gambling harm it provides a useful model that others can follow. It includes lots of helpful advice as well as links to other sources of information. Read Wigan Council's information on harmful gambling.

As well as the commitment to protecting residents from the risks of harmful gambling, Wigan Council pledged to care for the wellbeing of its primary asset – its workforce.  Therefore, another key delivery strand was to ensure staff were also made aware of the dangers of harmful gambling and the resources and help available, should they need them.  This was achieved through the delivery of an internal communication plan, which included

  • Staff intranet and weekly round-up articles, promotional intranet banners, screensavers about harmful gambling and the support available were produced.  These messages were amplified further, via posts to the Council’s internal BeWigan staff Facebook group.
  • Problem gambling awareness article with call to action was included within the corporate Team Time briefing, which is distributed to all managers, who cascade information to all members of their team.
  • Embedding the harmful gambling support offer into the existing mental health wellbeing offer for staff.  Further to this, both the Council’s staff Mental Health Wellbeing Champions and the Health and Wellbeing Champions were briefed to highlight all the support available, so they can provide the support and  guidance to colleagues in their supportive roles. 

New research and the mapping of gambling harm

Supported by GamCare a new NHS Primary Care Gambling Service has launched in London to offer help via GP surgeries for adults who need treatment for their gambling. Starting in South East London (Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich) there is a plan to expand the service in the next few months.

Data showing the impact of Covid-19 on gambling behaviour

There are several new pieces of research which will be of interest to both Public Health and Licensing teams from Gamble Aware. 

The impact of COVID on gambling behaviour  

This report looks at the changes in gambling behaviour during the first lockdown in comparison to the same sample pre lockdown. The study shows an overall pattern of a reduction in gambling between October 2019 and May 2020. Participation in virtually all activities was significantly lower in the May 2020 survey. However there are variations within this overall picture and some obvious reasons for the changes such as the reduction in sports betting opportunities and premises closures.  

What does gambling harm look like in your LA? 

Using data collected as part of the Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis programme of  research GambleAware has worked with UCL to produce maps of Great Britain which show the prevalence of problem gambling severity in each Local Authority area, as identified using the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI), as well as maps showing Consumer Indicator Data including accessibility to gambling outlets and the Index of Multiple Deprivation. The PGSI data was collected in 2019, and the survey will be repeated, and the maps updated, on an annual basis. 

Gamcare launches new toolkit to support debt advice agencies and others

GamCare is launching a comprehensive toolkit for financial institutions, gambling businesses and debt advice agencies across the UK to help them recognise, support and refer customers experiencing gambling-related financial harms, and provide consistent communications across all points of the customer journey.

Gambling Commission industry statistics published

Gambling industry statistics are published twice a year (in May and November) and provide the latest information on each sector regulated by the Gambling Commission.

The latest statistics cover the period between April 2019 – March 2020.

Industry Statistics report on the size and shape of the gambling industry in Great Britain.

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