The UK Gambling Commission has joined with partners in Wales to launch the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms at an event held in Cardiff.
The three-year strategy will drive work across Wales, and the other nations in Britain, to bring a lasting impact on reducing gambling harms – with Welsh health bodies, charities, regulators and businesses coming together in partnership to effectively tackle the issue.
The Commission is continuing to call for action and combined efforts on two strategic priority areas including Prevention and Education, where it says it is making significant progress towards a clear public health prevention plan which includes the right mix of interventions.
It is also looking at delivering treatment and support options that meet the needs of users in Wales.
The Cardiff launch is accompanied by similar events to unveil the new strategy in London and Edinburgh.
Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “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.’’
Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, said: “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.”
Earlier this spring the Gambling Commission also announced that its independent advisors, the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), had been renamed as the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) as part of a renewed focus on the safety of consumers and prevention of harm.