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The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s advice on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019–2022

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s advice on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019–2022

  1. Contents
  2. Part 3 - Prevention
  3. Universal prevention activities

Universal prevention activities

Universal prevention measures are those which are focused on whole populations i.e. they seek to impact all gamblers – and potential gamblers – regardless of whether they are at risk. Such measures are a key component of most major public health strategies. Examples are mandatory use of seat belts, prohibition of smoking in public places, and restrictions on licensing hours for the sale of alcohol. Such measures have been proven to deliver significant public health benefits. Securing a meaningful reduction in gambling-related harms through the new strategy is also likely to require consideration of further population level measures.

Universal measures relating to gambling could include (but are not limited to):

  • public health awareness campaigns aimed at raising awareness of gambling as a potentially harmful health issue, delivered as part of a broader strategy to reduce shame and stigma attached to gambling (so as to reduce barriers to seeking treatment) and to highlight its risks
  • product safety tests on gambling products before their introduction to the market. A testing regime already exists for the technical standards of products.28 Additional tests for safety features could be explored. These tests could include assessment of the structural features of the games/product and the setting in which it was offered to understand the level of likely risk attached and thus inform any restrictions imposed by the regulator on how it is used (speed of play etc)
  • preventing the use of credit cards for gambling and/or implementing ongoing credit checks (where possible) to limit levels of gambling credit to what the individual gambler can afford
  • restricting advertising and marketing of gambling products (see paragraphs 31 to 35 where this is considered in more detail)
  • restricting certain features or products. Banning products with features which encourage players to stake more or take greater risks – e.g. by offering better odds for higher stakes29 – or restricting time-limited calls to action such as ‘bet now’ which encourage people to make pressurised decisions with limited opportunity for reflection
  • reconsidering as part of the forthcoming competition for the Fourth National Lottery Licence the ability of the National Lottery to sell its products – particularly instant win products – to 16 and 17-year-olds, and reviewing the practice of displaying Lottery scratch cards next to products that appeal to children.


28 Technical Standards Gambling Commission

29 ‘Up-selling’ to customers in gambling is not the same as in retailing

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Selective prevention activities
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Facilitators and barriers to success
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