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Strategy

National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

The sole aim of this three-year National Strategy is to move faster and go further to reduce gambling harms.

What works in industry-based harm-minimisation

Through the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the Commission sets an expectation that the gambling industry should evaluate the impact of the interventions and harm-minimisation tools they develop.

With Collaboration as a key strategy enabler, we encourage the use of collaborative pilots (established with industry input) to test interventions, evaluate their effectiveness, and identify good practice. This will enable us to collectively improve our understanding of which interventions work, for whom, and in what circumstances.

There are some areas where evaluations are being led by the Commission, working in conjunction with ABSG and GambleAware. We intend to use evaluations from across the industry to generate good practice principles and consolidate the key lessons learnt to enable ongoing improvement of both interventions and evaluations.

There has been some piloting by operators of new interventions and approaches to harm-minimisation.

We now need to make better use of evaluations to understand the effectiveness of interventions, and identify best practice in harm minimisation.

This will help to identify which interventions work, for whom, and under what circumstances.

Image 12 - Research aims for what works in industry-based harm-minimisation - the image shows 3 circles with text in them. The first circle describes what we know, the second describes what we need to do and the third describes what this will help us to understand.

Research projects

Evaluation of the impact of Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Schemes and awareness and barriers to self-exclusion

This is an evaluation of all of the multi-operator self-exclusion schemes. This work will also provide insight into self-exclusion from individual operators.

The evaluation has been split into two phases:

Phase 1

Phase 1 has focused on effectiveness of the process of planning and implementation of the Multi Operator Self-Exclusion Schemes, including enablers and barriers to each scheme running efficiently and has provided baseline evidence of the impact of the schemes, including awareness and perceptions of them amongst gamblers.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will evaluate how effective multi-operator self-exclusion schemes are in modifying harmful gambling behaviours and identify improvements that can be made to the schemes to improve their effectiveness in the short and medium term, by engaging with a larger sample of scheme users.

More information about the project is available in the Multi-operator self-exclusion schemes invitation to tender (PDF)

The Process and Impact Evaluation of the Multi-Operator Self-exclusion Schemes (PDF) is the phase 1 report completed by Ipsos Mori.

Applying Behavioural Insights to Reduce Problem Gambling

This research, conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) for GambleAware, involves exploring the ways that behavioural science can be used to reduce harmful play online.

The first phase, completed in 2018, explored methods of reducing risky play in online environments and tested behavioural science informed messages with two operators, with the aim of increasing uptake of Safer Gambling tools. BIT found that making the tools more accessible (reducing friction) increased uptake, but that normative messaging did not. The report is available here.

The second phase of this work, completed in 2021, involved piloting and evaluating the effectiveness of two interventions to reduce risky play across the industry: Anchoring and Commitment Devices.

The Anchoring research investigated the influence of pre-defined financial dropdown options on the decision of an individual when setting a deposit limit. The trial included the finding that the removal or reduction of the pre-defined options resulted in a significant decrease in the deposit limit set by the individual. The report PDF (opens in a new tab) is available on the GambleAware website.

The Commitment Devices trial investigated the impact of asking an individual to provide a reason (‘commitment’) for setting their deposit limit at their chosen threshold. BIT found that presenting customers with the option of providing a reason decreased take-up of the deposit limit tool. Those that did set a limit in the trial groups selected lower deposit limits after a period of increased activity, but subsequent gambling activity did not vary. The report is available here (opens in a new tab).

Developing gambling industry best-practice for harm-minimisation: Safer gambling messaging

Revealing Reality are building on their previous research into collaborative innovation to identify good practice and inspire change with a new phase of work focused on safer gambling messaging. Read the Responsible Gambling: Collaborative innovation identifying good practice and inspiring change report (PDF).

Working with operators from a variety of sectors, safer gambling messages will be developed, tested and refined to produce recommendations and good practice guidance for industry. Depending on findings, there will then be the potential for a large-scale pilot, which would be evaluated by the Behavioural Insights Team.

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Changes in gambling behaviour over time
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