On 25th April 2019, the Gambling Commission announced its new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. The new strategy will mean charities, businesses, regulators and health bodies will all be working together in order to help reduce the problem of gambling across the UK. In fact, under this three-year strategy, which will look at coordinating work to help reduce gambling harms, it will symbolise the very first-time different bodies have all worked in collaboration with one another to help tackle the issue.
What will the strategy focus on?
The Gambling Commission has highlighted two key areas that will require a strong amount of combined effort from all parties concerned in the next three years to challenge the issue of online gambling. These two strategic priority areas are as follows:
Treatment and support: the Commission wants to ensure that across the UK, truly national treatment is being offered, wherever in the country, the treatment is required by users. It also wants to ensure that sufficient support options are in place which adequately meets the needs of those that require these services.
Prevention and education: the other key priority area is in ensuring that much more is done in order to create a clear public prevention plan, that also includes within it the right mix of interventions.
Other strategy areas
Whilst treatment and support, as well as prevention and education, have been indicated by the Gambling Commission to be the two most important strategic areas, there are also other areas of focus. In this new strategy, the Commission will continue to enforce its firm regulatory approach, whilst also looking at improving the quality and level of research in the UK that goes into gambling harms, so that there is a more commonplace implementation of which strategies work in practice.
The Gambling Commission is also looking at creating a new National Research Centre in the upcoming years, whilst work is also currently taking place to build a National Data Repository for Research Purposes.
Changes to advertising
Ahead of this recently announced strategy, two of the UK’s largest betting giants had already committed to making considerable changes as to how they advertise, in order to help tackle gambling harms.
GVC, which is the owner of Coral, William Hill, Gala and Ladbrokes has stated that it will soon be putting a complete end to football shirt sponsorship. It will also be soon stopping perimeter adverts too.
Furthermore, GVC has also stated it wants to see an end to all UK sport-betting broadcast advertising. This is whatever the time of day it is broadcasted, and includes both live and repeated sporting events.
The problem of gambling
According to research that has been carried out by the Gambling Commission, there are approximately 430,000 people in total around the country who are affected by gambling problems.
In addition, the NHS has highlighted the number of problems that are associated with gambling problems. Evidence has shown that there is a clear link between gambling problems and stress, depression as well as links with other mental health issues.