International edition
August 24, 2019

With a focus on protecting children and young people

UK Gambling Commission releases new national strategy to reduce gambling harms

UK Gambling Commission releases new national strategy to reduce gambling harms
Improvements could include, for example, rules or requirements relating to specific gambling products or environments, where evidence suggests this is needed.
United Kingdom | 12/12/2018

Consistent with approaches in other international jurisdictions, the proposed actions focus on making gambling safer with the aim of reducing harms, rather than on promoting responsible gambling.

T

he UK Gambling Commission has proposed that the aim of the new strategy should be to reduce gambling harms.

The strategy is designed to better coordinate the way that action is taken to meet this aim. Consistent with approaches in other international jurisdictions, the proposed actions focus on making gambling safer with the aim of reducing harms, rather than on promoting responsible gambling. The Commission has expressed they "feel that the notion of promoting responsible gambling places an undue focus on individuals who are experiencing harms, and does not also consider products or the environment."

A particular theme of implementation will be protecting children and young people - and their needs will be reflected in the work for each of the five proposed priority areas.

By harms, the Commission understands "the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society."

This does not mean that the aim is to minimise harm at all costs, but to safeguard consumers and the wider public by ensuring that gambling is fair and safe, and will seek to do this by balancing consumer choice and enjoyment against the risks gambling can create and its impact on wider society.

The approach to the new strategy is similar to that taken in a range of other public health or regulatory areas – by this, the Commission means:

  • Defining the problem
  • Identifying risk and protective factors
  • Developing and testing prevention strategies
  • Ensuring widespread adoption.

This approach is not a one-off linear process - it is a constant cycle of defining the current level and nature of the problem, through to ensuring widespread adoption of good or best current practice.

"We will work within the current regulatory framework for gambling to implement the strategy. During the life of the strategy it is possible that we may identify parts of the current framework which could be improved to facilitate progress and lead to better outcomes for consumers. Some of these may be changes that can be addressed within the current regulatory framework, others may be recommended through formal advice to Government," explains the organization.

Improvements could include, for example, rules or requirements relating to specific gambling products or environments, where evidence suggests this is needed.

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