This strategy sets out the approach needed across a range of stakeholders and delivery bodies to have the maximum impact on reducing gambling harms.
In developing this strategy, we have considered the views and experiences of everyone who engaged with our public discussion document, from consumers, to charities, academics, treatment providers, gambling businesses, health bodies and others and these views have shaped this approach.
The aim of the strategy was almost unanimously supported by stakeholders - that is to reduce gambling harms; ‘the adverse impacts from gambling on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, communities and society.’ This can include loss of employment, debt, crime, breakdown of relationships and deterioration of physical and mental health. At its worst, gambling can contribute to loss of life through suicide.
Reducing gambling harms means taking a broader focus than simply encouraging individuals to gamble responsibly, and this strategy sets out collectively how we can adopt a public health approach to reducing gambling harms. A public health approach to reducing gambling harms in this context is not solely – or even primarily – about health care provision. It is about adopting practices that bring benefit at the population level, as well as at the individual, in order to prevent gambling harms from occurring. It means recognising that a broad range of measures must usually be taken by different people and organisations to address what can often be a complex mix of harmful consequences.
Towards a public health approach to reducing gambling harms
- Define the problem
- Identify risk and protective factors
- Develop and test prevention and treatment strategies
- Ensure widespread adoption
This approach is similar to that taken in a range of other public health or regulatory areas; to define the problem, identify risk and protective factors, develop and test prevention strategies and ensure widespread adoption of good or best practice.
This strategy sets out how, by focusing combined efforts on two strategic priorities of prevention and education and treatment and support, we can collectively have the most impact on reducing gambling harms.
- Prevention and education: To make significant progress towards a collective and clear prevention plan applying the right mix of interventions.
- Treatment and support: To make significant progress towards truly national treatment and support options that meet the needs of current and future service users.
These inter-related strategic priorities are delivered through four enablers; regulation and oversight,collaboration, evaluation and research to inform action.