SBC News NatCen to study effectiveness of Gambling Act review for vulnerable groups
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NatCen to study effectiveness of Gambling Act review for vulnerable groups

The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) is to develop a Monitoring and Evaluation plan for the Gambling Act review (GAR). 

Commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), NatCen’s project will establish the evaluation design to address how effective the review has been in preventing gambling-related harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities, gambling behaviours and the gambling market.

Dr Sokratis Dinos, Director of Health Policy at NatCen, commented: “We are delighted to work on this project, to develop this monitoring and evaluation plan of the vital Gambling Act Review. 

“The past decade has seen a significant shift in the perspective of gambling harms, and this contract is pivotal in providing feasible approaches and practical recommendations.”

Furthermore, NatCen has outlined that the GAR evaluation will also aim to consider whether there is an appropriate balance between consumer freedoms and choice on the one hand, and prevention of harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities on the other.

It will also look into if customers are suitably protected whenever and wherever they are gambling, and if there is an equitable approach to the regulation of the online and the land-based industries.

“This evaluation will consider the extent to which measures have effectively prevented gambling related harm to vulnerable groups and wider communities, whilst enabling the balance of consumer freedom and informed choice, and explore the wider impact on gambling behaviours and the market,” added Dinos.

Meanwhile, NatCen will develop a Theory of Change (ToC) for the GAR in co-design with DCMS and the Gambling Commission, which will be supported by document analysis to ensure that the evaluation design is ‘considered in the full context of recent changes in the gambling landscape’.

Finally, the organisation will deliver a complete evaluation plan considering feasible approaches and practical recommendations for implementing this evaluation of the critical review.

In recent weeks, Andrew Rhodes, CEO of the Gambling Commission, reiterated that the Gambling Review’s underlying challenge is tofind the right balance’ to govern a commercially evolving UK gambling marketplace and its engagement with the public.

The observation was outlined by Rhodes in his address to delegates at the ‘Consumer Protection Zone’ at ICE London 2024.

He said: “I think we need to accept in a difficult debate that someone can have a different view to yours, but in setting out a different perspective or highlighting the evidence, we are not necessarily trying to take someone’s opinion away from them.

“Getting the balance right is important and keeping that balance is a job that’s never done.”

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