On 25 April 2019, the Gambling Commission set out its ‘National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms’. The fundamental objective of the three-year strategy is to “make better and faster progress to reduce gambling harms”. In support of such efforts the Commission has launched a website dedicated to that cause: reducinggamblingharms.org.
Mims Davies, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, highlighted the importance of the strategy and emphasised that “protecting people from harm should be at the heart of every gambling business, working with a strong regulator”. The Minister also spoke of the importance of prevention and education as well as treatment and support that act as the “vital pillars” of the strategy, and which bring into play other bodies and organisations. The Chairman of the Gambling Commission, William Moyes, added that “Everyone has a role to play to combat gambling harms and I’m delighted that the health sector, charities and businesses are showing their commitment to get behind the strategy and make it a success.”
The Commission has warned that there will be challenges in reducing gambling harms. The Commission points out that while a great deal is known about how much gambling takes place and that they have a reasonable estimate on the number of problem gamblers, a knowledge gap exists in terms of comprehensively understanding how harms are experienced and the best way in which to shield individuals from such harms.
The gambling industry should be aware that the strategy will rely on sufficient resources being made available under current voluntary arrangements. If sufficient resources are not made available, the Government may consider imposing a mandatory levy.