Mims Davies MP, the UK Minister for Sports & Civil Society (DCMS), has stated that the UK government will fully support the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in implementing its new ‘National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms’.
Appointed last November as UK Sports Minister, following the well-publicised resignation of Tracey Crouch in protest of ‘FOBTs delays’, Davies details the UKGC’s national strategy as ‘another milestone in a year of strong policy developments that this Government has led’.
Addressing Parliament, Davies states that the UKGC has delivered a progressive strategy, which builds a ‘vision of the future’ in tackling problem gambling harms amid changing consumer behaviours influenced by fast-changing technologies
Davies and DCMS back the UKGC’s strategic priorities of improving prevention and treatment resources, which should enhance gambling-harm research and evaluation, improving ‘widespread adoption’ of effective functions and practices.
“This new Strategy builds on the vision from the last, and this is a good thing,” Davies added. “It shows that we are heading in the right direction, and positive progress is being made.
“It is right to recognise there have been changes in technology, changes in consumer behaviour and changes in attitudes to gambling.
“Some have led to positive developments, such as greater understanding and awareness of gambling-related harm, and innovative new ways to protect people and enforce rules. However, changes have also increased concern about what the future of the gambling industry may hold – on both sides.”
In her speech, Davies backs UKGC Chairman William Moyes’ initiative to develop wider support networks for problem gambling, embracing the capacity of UK national health structures.
In its mandate, the UKGC underlines that it wants to move UK gambling support structures ‘from simply counting problem gamblers’.
“Supporting action on gambling-related harm is now a priority for Public Health England. This a really important step. And their evidence review will help to inform action on prevention and treatment.
“I’m keen that future work builds on the strong arrangements already in place for coordinating and commissioning treatment.
“We have a national network of counselling services. And GambleAware funds existing NHS gambling services – such as the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London – as well as the GamCare helpline.
“I saw first-hand the vital frontline work both carry out, providing support to those who need it.”