According to the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) Progress Study on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, UK gambling must rapidly monitor its research on better game design and stake reduction initiatives.
The ABSG called for more progress on imposing a compulsory levy on all gambling companies to enable charitable funding for gambling charities, although it also recommended a national care plan led by the NHS and more studies on gambling-related harms.
It stated: “To make faster progress on treatment, the NHS should lead the creation of a national treatment strategy working in partnership with the third sector. Agreed care pathways between the NHS and other providers are essential to the development of equitable services and there needs to be rapid implementation of quality assurance processes to monitor existing provision.
“Greater progress is also required to secure more effective arrangements for commissioning research – particularly on the measurement of gambling harms. We recommend that initial engagement with research councils is built upon to increase their involvement in this area.
“We continue to urge progress on a statutory levy to underpin all of this work with sustainable, independent funding. Without the levy, progress will be limited.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to almost every aspect of life in Britain. Gambling activity is no exception and the exhortation to “Build Back Better” is as relevant to the goal of safer gambling as it is elsewhere in society.”
Gambling with Lives welcomed the recommendations outlined in the report and also stressed the need to mitigate ‘the risks of exposing young people to gambling advertising.’
Gambling with Lives co-founder Charles Ritchie said: “We very much welcome today’s report and support its recommendations. The Gambling Commission must immediately take steps to progress its work on the links between gambling and suicide, the lives of young people are at risk.
“The Commission must also accelerate its work on treatment and the commissioning of research along with a statutory levy. Taking account of those who have experience of the devastating harm gambling can cause, is a critical part of this.
“I would also urge the ABSG to look at the wider areas of risk that the Gambling Commission must progress such as game design and the risks of exposing young people to gambling advertising.”