RGSB reveals recommendations for UKGC National Strategy

The UK Gambling Commission has welcomed the advice from the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) pertaining to its National Strategy, which is due to be published in April.

The RGSB has included a compulsory levy which seeks to replace the current voluntary arrangements. The levy will fund prevention, treatment and help facilitate research on a greater scale. A transparent structure would be implemented by the board to highlight how the funds are distributed.

In addition to this, the strategy board has proposed further initiatives to treat gambling advertising the same as alcohol and tobacco among its recommendations.

Helen Rhodes, programme director at the Gambling Commission, stated: “Alongside the consultation responses we’ve received from a variety of stakeholders, RGSB’s advice is a significant step to develop and launch a strategy to deliver the greatest possible impact to further reduce gambling harms.”

Other recommendations include shifting the focus away from operators taking voluntary action to the Commission ordering companies to undertake measures.

RGSB chair Sir Christopher Kelly added: “We welcome the Commission taking responsibility for delivery of the next strategy and ensuring adequate and appropriate steps are taken to reduce gambling-related harms from the wide range of stakeholders from whom action will be required.

“We believe that there is a significant opportunity to make real progress over the next few years.”

The suggestions put forward are intended to give insight into what the board perceives to be the  priorities in reducing gambling-related harm in the UK. In addition to this, the RGSB has suggested arrangements to be put in place which would effectively implement the National Strategy effectively.

The RGSB has also said that more clarity is needed as to which bodies are responsible for the implementation of prevention and treatment actions.

Provisional and quality assurance of treatment for problem gamblers, according to the RGSB, should no longer lie with charities that rely on voluntary donations. Instead, the treatment of problem gamblers should be addressed in a similar manner to public health issues, and the treatment should come from health departments.

In relation to treatment, the strategy board has stressed that the gambling industry must stop differentiating between ‘problem gamblers’, ‘those at risk’ and other gamblers. The group has suggested that this is down to the fluid nature of gambling addiction, in which people can move in and out of harm at different times.

The move comes after the Gambling Commission launched a separate, concurrent consultation to gather views on a series of planned regulatory changes. The UKGC will now consider this advice alongside comments submitted by industry stakeholders and the general public via a consultation ahead of publishing its National Strategy.

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