On the 4 December the Gambling Commission opened their consultation on a new national strategy to reduce gambling harm. A copy of the consultation can be found here.
The current national strategy, which comes to an end in April 2019, was developed by the Commissions advisers, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board, with 12 strategic priorities, ranging from understanding and measuring harm to public engagement.
Whilst the Commission acknowledge that over the life of the strategy progress has been made, in other areas, such as initiatives to identify and reduce harm, and building an effective evidence base to inform policy, progress has been slow.
The approach to the new national strategy to reduce gambling harms has identified 5 key priority areas as follows:
1. Research to inform action
The proposed programme, seen as a key part of the governance arrangements, has six research themes:
• Gambling related harms
• Patterns of play
• Changes in gambling behaviour over time
• What works in harm minimisation
• Education and prevention
In the first year of the strategy, the Commission want to ensure that a central data repository of anonymised information about gambling behaviour is created. This information would then be made available to researchers
The Commission has set out plans for prevention and education, building on and helping to coordinate and target the work that has been carried out by a range of bodies, including GambleAware and other gambling charities working in the area of education.
The aim under this priority head is to ensure that current treatment options are evaluated and that treatment needs are assessed, and to make significant progress towards a “truly national coverage of treatment across England, Wales and Scotland”.
The Commission wish to ensure that the evaluation of current treatment services which was set as a priority under the current strategy is put back on track, and to provide ongoing assurance that the voluntary contributions from industry are being targeted at the most cost effective treatment services, maximizing reach and impact.
Through the new strategy it is intended that a culture of evaluation is embedded across the sector through the active use of an evaluation protocol.
There is an expressed desire to create a central/co-coordinating evaluation body for this purpose.
5. Gambling Businesses
There is a recognition that gambling businesses have a key role to play in reducing the risk of harm. In an attempt to maximise progress in this area gambling businesses are being encouraged to focus their collaborative efforts (where developments in the use of data analytics and collaboration between business has already been acknowledged) to achieve the most impact.
The consultation also focuses on the proposed amendment to the LCCP requirement for businesses to support research, prevention and treatment of gambling harms, with the proposed amendment to the LCCP specifying that licensees contributions under the provision be made to one or more of the organisations that are approved by the Commission.
The Commission hope that this will not only provide clarity to the gambling businesses in how to ensure that they are compliant but will also improve the outcomes for vulnerable persons who are, or maybe, affected by gambling related harms by helping to target funding within the priorities of the strategy.
The consultation closes on the 15 February 2019.
Should you wish to discuss the impact or consequence of the consultation for your business or should you like assistance in drafting your submission to the consultation then please do not hesitate to contact Ewen Macgregor.