UKGC: A broader local approach strengthens the National Strategy for Harm Reduction
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has maintained its commitment to the progress of its ‘multi-agency strategy’ as embodied in its 2019 National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Rob Burkitt, the Commission’s policy lead on shared regulation, provided an update on the necessity of local governments’ support for the National Strategy in order to achieve a shared goal of reducing gaming harms in communities.
Burkitt remarked during the unveiling of the National Strategy that a multi-agency approach was necessary because the Commission “lacks the resources, remit, and authority to execute the strategy’s objectives on our own.”
“Even prior to the strategy’s implementation, there had been substantial interest in gambling harm as a public health issue among local authorities (LAs). Leeds, Sheffield, and Birmingham local authorities were eager to examine gambling in the same manner they did with alcohol and narcotics,” Burkitt remarked.
By assisting local governments, the UKGC was able to develop the National Strategy’s stakeholder network, which included the Local Government Association and the Institute of Licensing.
The effectiveness of a regional strategy has resulted in UKGC funding two initiatives by Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Yorkshire and Humber Public Health, allowing the Strategy to acquire a better understanding of regional consequences.
Additionally, the Commission highlighted the benefits of a multi-agency approach, noting that it resulted in local governments sharing best practices in problem gambling support and provided direct feedback to the Commission’s policy from participating authorities.
“The effectiveness of this combined strategy has resulted in the formation of a network of legal assistants who meet virtually every three months.” The Commission, which has 46 members, coordinates the meetings. Burkitt
“While changing hearts, minds, and cultures can be a slow process, our three-monthly workshops appear to be assisting us in attaining that aim through the use of a multi-agency strategy.”
Despite its success, Burkitt expressed worry about the increasing network’s ability to make progress as COVID-19 has taxed all local governments and public health resources.
Burkitt emphasized the continuous development and participation of local governments in helping the UKGC achieve the most diverse coverage possible for its strategy – “with members ranging from inner-city London boroughs to beach resorts.”
“The Commission’s job will remain as a facilitator and enabler, sharing best practices among the Local Authorities,” Burkitt said.
“Strategy implementation and a public health approach to gaming harm reduction will always be site-specific. While it is too early to determine the group’s exact influence on implementation, the early indicators are extremely optimistic.”
Menmuir, T. (2022, January 14). UKGC: Expanded Local Approach Strengthens National Strategy To Reduce Harms. www.sbcnews.co.uk. https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/social-responsibility/2022/01/14/ukgc-expanded-local-approach-strengthens-national-strategy-to-reduce-harms/.