Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms
ABSG progress report 2020
Lack of ‘universal’ prevention’
Although the project set out above targeting higher-risk groups is positive, there is a gap in wider ‘universal’ prevention initiatives. Much prevention activity remains unproven. The ‘When the fun stops, stop,’ campaign has been challenged for lacking impact and focusing too strongly on promoting the message that gambling is fun66. There is some emerging evidence which supports this67.
There needs to be further activity focusing on children and young people68. Young people consider gambling to be an increasingly normalised presence in their lives69 with gambling harms associated with a significantly increased risk of health issues such as depression and anxiety. Types of gambling that are available to young people have been shown to be associated with disordered gambling amongst adults70. Young people are increasingly likely to experience gambling in the context of video games, eSports and skins betting71.
The value of activity focusing on children and young people is highlighted in the recommendations of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) ‘Skins the game report’72. The Department for Education has announced that gambling as a risky behaviour will be included in the schools PHSE curriculum in England from September 202073. The government in Wales has set a similar approach74 but there are no indications as yet on how the impact of these measures will be evaluated.
GambleAware has launched its ‘BetRegret’ Campaign – which focuses on promoting awareness of risky behaviours – such as gambling when drunk or bored. An evaluation of the campaign is currently underway and we look forward to the publication of its findings75. New awareness raising initiatives led by those with lived experience are at proof of concept stage and we will report on its progress in 2021.
66 Testing a gambling warning label’s effect on behaviour, Newall, Walasek, Singman, Ludvig, PsyArXiv Preprints, September 2019
67 Equivalent gambling warning labels are perceived differently, Newall, Walasek, Ludvig, 2020
68 Advice to the Gambling Commission on actions to reduce online harms, ABSG, February 2020
69 Skins in the game, a high stakes relationship between gambling and young people’s health and wellbeing? Royal Society for Public Health, December 2019
70 Frequency of engagement with legal youth gambling products is associated with adult disordered gambling, Newhall, Russell, Sharman, Walasek, PsyArXiv Preprints, March 2020
71 Reducing online harms, ABSG, July 2019
72 Skins in the Game, Royal Society for Public Health, Dec 2019
73 Resources promoting resilience to gambling, PSHE Association
74 Framing a public health approach to gambling harms in Wales: Challenges and opportunities, Rogers, January 2019
75 BetRegret, GambleAware
Last updated: 18 August 2021
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