Cookies on the Gambling Commission website

The Gambling Commission website uses cookies to make the site work better for you. Some of these cookies are essential to how the site functions and others are optional. Optional cookies help us remember your settings, measure your use of the site and personalise how we communicate with you. Any data collected is anonymised and we do not set optional cookies unless you consent.

Set cookie preferences

You've accepted all cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content


ABSG Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms – Year Two

ABSG - Year two Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

2 - Recommendations

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) reviews and reports on the progress of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. The purpose of this report is to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to make recommendations to support the future delivery of the National Strategy.

The following list summarises ABSG’s main recommendations. These are grouped into recommendations relevant to delivery arrangements, prevention and treatment.

Key partners in the National Strategy are identified for each recommendation. As an Advisory Board to the Gambling Commission, ABSG’s role is to provide an independent assessment of where activity should be focused if the National Strategy is to make effective progress in reducing gambling harms, rather than to task external organisations with actions.


Key Recommendations
Key Partner in the National Strategy
Begin work now on the design of the next phase of the National Strategy for Reducing Harms, with agreed measures of success, clearer accountability and defined deliverables.
Gambling Commission, Strategic Implementation Groups in England, Scotland and Wales.
Continue to promote co-production with people with lived experience, within the Commission and across prevention, treatment and research initiatives, and embed evaluation in all of these.
All partners in the National Strategy – particularly the Gambling Commission and bodies involved in strategic leadership of the Strategy.
Make faster progress on establishing structures and responsibilities for implementation in England through regional as well as national forums, learning from the progress made in Scotland and Wales and using local public health post-pandemic recovery strategies. An Addictions Strategy for England has been proposed but has not been forthcoming and is urgently needed.
UK Government – led by DCMS and DHSC, local authorities, third sector organisations.
Following the publication of the PHE Evidence Review, the Commission could co-host a roundtable for stakeholders in Scotland, England and Wales to share learning on ‘policy into action’. Government leads in each nation could create task and finish groups to agree metrics, working collaboratively to achieve comparable outcomes.
Gambling Commission, Government departments in England, Wales and Scotland.
As ABSG recommended last year, there is a need to accelerate progress to establish independent funding for research, led by the Research Councils, but with access to funds for smaller scale rapid response projects. This programme should include a new prevalence survey and longitudinal study.
Research Councils UK and other health and public health research funders.
Gambling Commission.
Accelerate progress on a statutory levy for research, education and treatment in order to create independence, enhance accountability, and ensure transparency.
UK Government – led by DCMS.

Prevention and Education

Key Recommendations
Key Partner in the National Strategy
Embed the risk of suicide associated with gambling in national suicide prevention strategies and national reporting systems in England, Scotland and Wales alongside investment in continued efforts to raise awareness of the issue.
UK Government – led by DHSC, Scottish Government and Welsh Government.
Build on progress by advancing the preventive regulatory work on affordability, improving customer interaction and achieving the single customer view. There needs to be greater data sharing and collaboration between the financial sector, the Commission and operators to identify and take action when customers are at risk.
Gambling Commission, Gambling Industry, FCA, Financial sector.
Include gambling metrics in national and local public health measurement such as the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF). We encourage the Commission to use its influence with other government agencies to address this as a priority.
DHSC, local authorities – supported by Gambling Commission.
Agree metrics for understanding what works and why for both universal and targeted interventions and drive better coordination across projects in the same area. The gambling industry should be more transparent about how it measures the effectiveness of its safer gambling messaging and other activity to protect its customers.
Gambling Commission, third sector organisations, gambling industry.

Treatment and support

Key Recommendations
Key Partner in the National Strategy
A well-functioning, fully integrated treatment system is essential for the effective delivery of the Gambling Commission’s licensing objectives. The Commission should continue to use its influence to highlight gaps in the treatment system and bring about further progress in this area of the National Strategy.
Gambling Commission, DHSC and NHS in England, Scotland and Wales and third sector organisations.
Continue to prioritise the development of a whole-systems approach, building on existing pilots in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and London.
DHSC and NHS England, Scotland and Wales and local authorities.
Complete the work to achieve clearly defined and agreed care and treatment pathways. Agreement between all stakeholders of referral pathways and thresholds for each point along the treatment/referral pathway, based on standardised assessments measures and triage procedures.
NHS in England, Scotland and Wales, local authorities and third sector organisations.
Accelerate progress on mandating independent quality assurance in England, Scotland and Wales for all treatment providers, alongside agreed metrics for measuring outcomes.
DHSC and NHS England, Scotland and Wales – with support from CQC and Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales.
Although the Gambling Act Review does not specifically cover prevention or treatment within its scope, wider consideration must be given to the cross-government approach needed to reduce gambling harms – particularly where links between NHS, local authority and third sector organisations can be strengthened.
DHSC and Scottish and Welsh Government.
Prioritise research on the reasons behind recurrence and the provision of follow-up support, and the use of big data from operators and the financial sector to improve understanding of products, play, spend and associated risk factors.
DHSC and Research Councils UK and other health and public health research funders.
Previous section
ABSG RGH year 2 progress report - Executive summary
Next section
ABSG RGH year 2 progress report - Introduction
Is this page useful?
Back to top