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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Governance and oversight

Governance and oversight

The Gambling Commission is publishing quarterly implementation updates on the National Strategy11. These provide information on new activities and their status.

There are, however, notable gaps in governance and oversight reporting for the National Strategy:

  • The lack of a public risk register: This means there is less visibility of risks to the delivery of the National Strategy and clarity on who is responsible for managing them. The Gambling Commission maintains a risk register for its own Business Plan – including activity to make gambling safer and reduce gambling harms. It does not, however, maintain a risk register for the National Strategy as a whole.
  • The absence of agreed metrics: Impact measurements provide strong accountability to ensure progress is being made. The difficulties of measuring gambling-related harms are well documented12, and, to date, the National Strategy does not include clear progress and impact measures to explain how these will be demonstrated.

Implementation groups in England, Wales and Scotland are ideally placed to take responsibility for these actions. These groups are, however, still in formation, and are still some way from considering and agreeing impact metrics and forming risk registers. As these groups take further shape over the next twelve months, we recommend that addressing these gaps is prioritised. The recommendations in this report will contribute to this.

We also note the National Audit Office recently highlighted a lack of clear impact measures in its report on gambling regulation13. The Gambling Commission has accepted the recommendations in the NAO Report and is working to develop a new measurement framework. We recommend the Commission’s work is used to catalyse wider action on metrics for the National Strategy.


11 National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, implementation update, Gambling Commission, January 2020

12 Measuring gambling-related harms: a framework for action, Wardle et al, July 2018

13 Gambling Regulation: Problem Gambling and Protecting Vulnerable People, National Audit Office, February 2020

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