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UKGC Has Launched a New Three-Year National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms
- May 1, 2019 By Oliver Young -
The UK Gambling Commission has launched its new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms and together with charities, health bodies and business will combine efforts to reduce gambling harms. They will deliver a truly national treatment and support to meet the needs of users and will make significant progress towards a health prevention plan.
The New Strategy
The previous 2018-2021 Strategy focused on five strategic priorities, while the new one focuses on two: Treatment and Support and Prevention and Education. As part of the new strategy, the UK Gambling Commission will continue to be firm in regulatory enforcement whilst also further improve research and evaluation by establishing a new National Research Centre and building a National Data Respiratory.
The UK Gambling Commission’s Chairman William Moyes said that the new strategy will provide them all with the chance to make faster progress in reducing gambling harms. It will not only help those who are directly affected but also their friends and families and the wider society. However, success relies on everyone involved, because everyone has a role to play in order to fight gambling harms. He added that they were happy to see that the charities, health bodies and businesses were showing their commitment to join forces and make the strategy a success.
Moyes explained that instead of simply counting problem gamblers, they should better understand the harms that are caused by gambling and over the time, with the help of the strategy, to better determine them and learn how to protect against them. The UKGC has last year presented a new approach to determining gambling related-harms, which is expected to be enhanced now.
NHS England’s National Director for Mental Health Claire Murdoch stated that there was increasing evidence of a link between mental health issues such as depression and stress and problem gambling and the strategy was an important step in the fight to reduce the harm caused. Emphasizing the importance to get everyone involved to act, she explained that it was not only the NHS’s problem to protect the vulnerable and make sure they get the right support. She added that this was an issue that affects people of all ages and different backgrounds, and that’s why the entire society should join the battle.
The Public Health England’s Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice Rosanna O’Connor stated that they will be conducting the first ever review of evidence on health harms related to gambling which will look at the scale and range of harms and identify the impact of gambling on people’s wellbeing and health. Welcoming the UKGC’s Strategy, she added that there was an urgent need to better understand the harms and learn how best to prevent and treat them. The UKGC has commissioned the Public Health England to undertake comprehensive independent evidence review to assess the health harms of gambling and review the effectiveness of interventions and policies for reducing gambling-related harm.
Support by the Government
Mims Davies, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society praised the UK Gambling Commission’s strategy and the involvement of the health bodies, businesses and charities to contribute in the fight against gambling harms. The Minister stated that protecting people from gambling harm should be at the heart of every business related to gambling because addiction ruins lives and it was essential to provide help to those in need at the right time. Stating that the Strategy reflects the government’s expectation that the whole sector should come together in the fight to reduce problem gambling and the harm gambling does to players and their families, Davies added that she wants to notice a quicker progress made in reducing harm through education, increased research and treatment.