The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched its new three-year National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms for the Welsh public which is hoped to have a ‘lasting impact’ on reducing gambling harms.
The strategy will help support Welsh health bodies, charities, regulators and businesses in a collaborative project to help reduce gambling-related harms.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, commented: “The new strategy will provide us and our partners across Wales the opportunity to make faster progress to reduce gambling harms. 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.
“The success of this strategy relies on everyone working together to reduce gambling harms through prevention and education, and treatment and support. I’m delighted that those within the health, charity and business sectors in Wales are showing their commitment to making the strategy a success.
“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. Over the lifetime of the strategy we will better understand the full range of harms and how to protect against them.’’
Two key areas were highlighted by the Commission as part of the new initiative, including: prevention and education; treatment and support. The UKGC has laid out plans to develop a “clear public health prevention plan which includes the right mix of interventions” while also helping to deliver “treatment and support options that meet the needs of users in Wales”.
The launch in Cardiff is set to be complemented by similar events to unveil the new strategy in London and Edinburgh.
Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, added: “I welcome the shift in emphasis in this new strategy 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.
“I have championed the introduction of a mandatory levy to support harm minimisation, prevention, evidence-based treatment options and research into gambling-related harm since taking on the role of Chief Medical Officer for Wales and wholly endorse the Gambling Commission’s commitment to pushing industry to meet their responsibilities here.”