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National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019 to 2022

The sole aim of this three-year (2019 to 2022) National Strategy was to move faster and go further to reduce gambling harms.


Treatment and Support remains at the heart of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms as one of the two strategic priorities. As part of the research programme, we need to make sure that the treatment available to those who need it is effective and accessible.

This applies to treatment provided by GambleAware-funded services, whilst also recognising that people may need support with issues related to gambling in other settings – including mainstream healthcare or wider addiction services. For example, alcohol, substance abuse and misuse, or debt advice.

More research is needed on what works in treatment. A programme of research is already underway and it will be important that we apply the findings to future commissioning decisions, and find more ways to combine research with treatment to understand what works, and for who.

GambleAware has developed improved systems to gather data to inform the commissioning of treatment.

We need to understand what works in gambling treatment and build the evidence base to inform an effective and inclusive approach to treating gambling-related harms.

This will inform a national strategic plan to provide the right kind of treatment where it is most needed, in the most effective way.

Image 14 - Research aims for treatment - the image shows 3 circles with text in them. The first circle describes what we know, the second describes what we need to do and the third describes what this will help us to understand.

The Rapid Evidence Review: Effective Treatment and Support for Problem Gambling (PDF) is a report completed by Gambling Research Exchange (GREO).

This is an up to date review of the international evidence on treatment and support for gambling problems, ranging from primary care to specialist services and brief to intensive interventions, in order to identify the efficacy of these interventions.

This research has helped us understand what interventions work best, for who and why. It will ultimately inform the range of treatment services currently offered by GambleAware.

More information is available in the GREO project brief (PDF).

Treatment delivery gap analysis

This project involved a mixed methods approach of the current provision to determine where needs are, and are not, being met in terms of geography, demographics and severity of harm.

This research also explored the profile of ‘affected others’ who are those that have experienced harm as a result of someone else’s gambling; and provided new insights into the characteristics of this group. The findings will be used by policy makers to inform future commissioning and fundraising decisions.

Work on this project has been conducted by NatCen, ACT Recovery and YouGov.

More information is available in the gap analysis project brief (PDF) and gap analysis project invitation to tender (PDF).

Outputs from this research

The seven outputs are:

  1. Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis in Great Britain – A Synthesis of Findings (PDF) (May 2020) - NatCen Social Research.

  2. Gambling Treatment and Support (PDF) (March 2020) YouGov.

  3. An assessment of the accuracy of survey estimates of the prevalence of problem gambling in the UK (PDF) (March 2020) Professor Patrick Sturgis, London School of Economics.

  4. Gambling Treatment Services Needs Assessment Report (PDF) ACT Recovery.

  5. A Rapid Evidence Assessment of Gambling Treatment Services (PDF) July 2019, NatCen Social Research.

  6. Secondary Data Analysis of the Data Reporting Framework and the Health Survey for England (PDF) October 2019, NatCen Social Research.

  7. A Needs Assessment for Treatment and Support (PDF) October 2019, NatCen Social Research.

Evaluation of GambleAware funded treatment system

An independent evaluation of the current treatment and support system for those affected by difficulties with gambling, funded by GambleAware.

The scope of this project is to evaluate the three main providers and their partners of GambleAware funded treatment and support, to:

  • demonstrate service quality and effectiveness in terms of treatment outcomes and cost-effectiveness
  • understand how services function together in a coherent national system
  • assess GambleAware commissioning.

It will involve developing a set of clear, practical and evidence-based recommendations for improvement.

More information is available in the treatment evaluation project brief (PDF) and invitation to tender (PDF).

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