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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Section 1: Introduction
  3. Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures

Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures

In March 2020, the UK Governments introduced lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This had an almost immediate impact on many of the projects that were underway and moved the public and political focus away from gambling harm. As a result, the publication of this report, along with the Commission’s own update on the progress of the Strategy, was postponed until June 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a direct impact on gambling, with widespread cancellation of sporting events and closure of all premised based gambling outlets. We have yet to obtain data to give a full picture of the nature and extent of online gambling activity in this period7.

The consequences of these unprecedented changes have yet to be evaluated, but there are likely to be long-term health, social and economic impacts and exacerbated inequalities. Online gambling activity has increased in importance, which will mean more data on gambling patterns is now available to operators than ever before. However, challenges of availability of data means that reliable baseline estimates from which to measure recent changes are limited. This highlights the need for a fresh look at metrics that can help to identify those most at risk and do more to keep customers safe. The impacts of COVID-19 and “build back better” for the gambling industry will be reported on in ABSG’s 2021 Progress Report8.


7 COVID-19 and its impact on gambling – what we know so far, Gambling Commission, May 2020. Further data and updates will be provided by the Gambling Commission

8 Build back better – website & We owe it to future generations to build back better, Business Green, 28 May 2020

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