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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020


In April 2019, the Gambling Commission launched the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms in London. Launch events in Cardiff and Edinburgh followed in June. The Strategy was welcomed as a significant milestone in efforts to address harms from gambling. It placed public health approaches firmly at its centre, providing new opportunities for better and faster progress5.

  1. The sole aim of the three-year National Strategy is to move faster and go further to reduce gambling harms
  2. Objectives:
    • Prevention and Education Towards a collective and clear prevention plan applying the right mix of interventions
    • Treatment and Support Significant progress towards national treatment and support options that meet the needs of current and future service users
  3. Delivery:
    Delivery arrangements require structures to co-ordinate action from different partners, metrics to measure impact and adequate funding. ABSG report on progress annually.
  4. Cross-cutting themes:
    • Regulation and oversight
    • Collaboration
    • Research to inform action
    • Evaluation

The National Strategy was launched during a year when many other new developments in addressing gambling harms were underway:

  • Campaigning organisations brought challenging perspectives to public and political debate, stressing urgency and calling for tighter regulation measures and greater parity for treatment with other types of addiction.
  • The media‚Äôs interest in gambling and gambling harm grew throughout the year in ways not previously seen. Talking about gambling harm and recognising the need for action gathered momentum and brought the voice of those with lived experience to the forefront of public consciousness for many months during 2019/20.
  • The NHS in England began to take a more proactive stance through its Long Term Plan and made a commitment to opening 14 new treatment clinics6.
  • Implementation Groups have met in Wales and Scotland to start co-ordinating activity to deliver the National Strategy.
  • Public Health England and the National Institute for Health Research began their respective evidence reviews of gambling harms, and NICE signalled its commitment to producing guidelines once the reviews were published.
  • Parliamentary Committees in the House of Commons and the House of Lords invited a wide range of experts to give evidence.
  • The Gambling Commission Board invited ABSG to provide formal advice on a statutory levy.
  • The Government made a manifesto commitment to a review of the Gambling Act during this Parliament.
  • The Gambling Commission introduced a series of changes to its licencing requirements on credit card use, age verification checks, customer interaction requirements and self-exclusion measures, and issued the industry with new challenges to find ways to address harms.
  1. April 2019

    Partners - National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms launched.

  2. July 2019

    Political - House of Lords Committee opens inquiry on gambling-related harms.

  3. July 2019

    Partners - NHS LTP Mental Health Implementation Plan.

  4. October 2019

    Regulatory - Gambling Commission launch of industry challenges.

  5. October 2019

    Partners - GambleAware announce intention on pulling back on research commissioning (HOL Committee).

  6. November 2019

    Political - APPG report on online gambling harms.

  7. December 2019

    Political - New government formed with commitment stated to review the 2005 Gambling Act.

  8. January 2020

    Regulatory - ABSG provide Gambling Commission with formal advice on statutory levy.

  9. January 2020

    Regulatory - Gambling Commission Board agree to develop formal arrangements for involving people with lived experience in its work.

  10. February 2020

    Regulatory - National Audit Office report on gambling regulation and protection of vulnerable people.

  11. February 2020

    Partners - Implementation group meetings in Scotland and Wales.

  12. March 2020

    Regulatory - Gambling Commission implement online credit card ban, GAMSTOP and LCCP changes on customer interaction.

  13. April 2020

    Regulatory - Gambling Commission sets out guidance to operators on protection of customers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Key governance documents
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Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures
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