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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Executive summary

Executive summary

The Gambling Commission published the National Strategy during a year of rapidly growing interest in gambling related harms. The range of organisations now taking an active role represents a significant step forward, and there has been some progress in both priority areas of prevention and treatment.

Much more, however, still needs to happen to achieve the objectives of the National Strategy. Failure to make progress on the issue of gambling related suicide must be urgently addressed.

Our priority recommendations for year two include establishing a safer gambling league table and key baseline metrics from which to set targets and measure progress. Government, regulators, industry, the NHS and third sector organisations should agree areas of responsibility for ensuring these metrics are in place.

There needs to be an acceleration of efforts to involve people with lived experience in the delivery of the National Strategy.

To make faster progress on treatment, the NHS should lead the creation of a national treatment strategy working in partnership with the third sector. Agreed care pathways between the NHS and other providers are essential to the development of equitable services and there needs to be rapid implementation of quality assurance processes to monitor existing provision.

Greater progress is also required to secure more effective arrangements for commissioning research – particularly on the measurement of gambling harms. We recommend that initial engagement with research councils is built upon to increase their involvement on this area.

We continue to urge progress on a statutory levy to underpin all of this work with sustainable, independent funding. Without the levy, progress will be limited.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to almost every aspect of life in Britain. Gambling activity is no exception and the exhortation to “Build Back Better” is as relevant to the goal of safer gambling as it is elsewhere in society.

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ABSG progress report 2020: Introduction
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