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Annual Report and Accounts 2021 to 2022

The Gambling Commission's 2021 to 2022 Annual Report and Accounts.

  1. Contents
  2. Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling

Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling

Gambling harm continues to be a public health issue which requires a coordinated response to the impact it can have on individuals, family life and communities.

Given the pace at which the gambling industry changes, we work hard to understand the factors that influence gambling behaviour so we can focus on preventing harm to vulnerable and young people before it occurs.

We take a precautionary approach to interpreting available evidence and approaching new developments where appropriate.

Through our regulatory powers, over the past year we have also continued to take action against online and land-based operators who still fail to protect people from gambling harm.

Our highlights in this area

The following sets out our highlights over the past year for the deliverable of protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling.

We continued our work to ensure licence holders work collaboratively with each other to develop innovative ways to reduce harm and protect consumers.

Successfully identifying where developments in gambling products or services might pose a risk of harm and responding at pace where required – developing our research methods to support this work.

We published an update on our findings following an interim evaluation of the 2020 ban on credit cards for gambling which indicated that the action is popular among consumers and has not resulted in harmful unintended consequences. The evaluation also found that support for the ban among consumers has been largely positive, the proportion of consumers reporting gambling with other forms of borrowed money has remained stable, and that bank data showed no observed spike for credit card gamblers in money transfers in the three months after the ban.

As part of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, we approved regulatory settlements with a cumulative value of millions of pounds for activities to be applied for socially responsible purposes.

We also launched the Behavioural Insights Team’s Gambling Policy and Research Unit who are working with key stakeholders to design and scale successful interventions across the gambling market such as with banks and the financial services sector to help them understand, identify and support their most at-risk customers and build evidence for policy and regulatory advice.

We implemented and embedded a three-year sustainable, multi-component and collaborative programme across Yorkshire and the Humber to tackle gambling related harms, including gambling related debt, with a focus on education and prevention and access to support and treatment. The aim of the project is to understand what works in preventative education through insights provided by research and evaluation and to increase referrals to treatment and support.

We supported the delivery of Gambling Commission-led and independent research which has included the publication of reports and data into young people and gambling, participation and prevalence, and patterns of play.

We published, for the first time, the Research, Education and Treatment (RET) contributions data that had been reported to us by organisations on the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) RET list for the period January 2020 to March 2021, meeting our commitment to improving transparency around the amounts and destinations of RET funding.

Public Health England published their evidence review on gambling harms helping to improve our understanding of the prevalence, determinants and harms associated with gambling and the social and economic burden of gambling-related harms.

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