GC sets out strategy to reduce gambling harms in Wales

6 June 2019

The GB Gambling Commission has joined forces with partners in Wales to develop a new national strategy to reduce gambling-related harms in the country.

The three-year National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms will run from 2019 to 2022, and will see Welsh healthcare providers, charities and businesses work with the regulator to achieve two key strategic priorities.

The strategy will focus on prevention and education, as well as providing improved treatment and support for gambling harms.

In terms of prevention and education for gambling harms, the Commission will seek to develop a “clear public health prevention plan” that includes a range of different intervention strategies. This marks a shift from simply educating citizens about the dangers of gambling, instead focusing on actively preventing issues from developing.

The Commission will also look to tailor the treatment and support options to fulfil the needs of Welsh citizens.

“The new strategy will provide us and our partners across Wales the opportunity to make faster progress to reduce gambling harms,” Gambling Commission chief executive, Neil McArthur, said. “It will address not only the harms experienced by people who gamble but will also focus upon the impact that can be felt by friends, family and the wider community.

“We all need to better understand the harms that can be caused by gambling, moving away from simply counting problem gamblers and instead build a greater understanding of the harms experienced," he continued. “Over the lifetime of the strategy we will better understand the full range of harms and how to protect against them.”

Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, welcomed the shift to focus on reducing gambling harms, "rather than simply promoting responsible gambling as an approach to tackling this public health issue".

“Building the resilience of children and young people is essential to reducing these harms, as is understanding, through increasing the availability of robust and independent research, the most effective measures for intervention,” Atherton explained.

The Welsh initiative comes after the Commission in April revealed a new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms across England, Scotland and Wales. This too focuses on preventing gambling harm through early intervention and education, and will also see treatment and support services improved across Great Britain.

Image: National Assembly for Wales