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Welcome to another weekly round-up of all the safer gambling news this week.
In the UK, GambleAware published the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) Annual Statistics for 2020/21 on Tuesday, which highlighted that 92% of people who completed their scheduled treatment had an improved score in the Problem Gambling Severity Index.
Furthermore, 70% of clients were no longer classed as ‘problem gamblers’ once their treatment had concluded, while the number of people completing their treatment had risen from 59% to 74% over the last five years.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people receiving treatment had dropped in 2020/21 when compared to the year before. Furthermore, 79% of those seeking treatment through the NGTS gamble online, up from 57% in 2015/16.
Speaking of the results, the CEO of GambleAware, Zoë Osmond, said: “It is encouraging to see that during an unprecedented year, when many of the services had to move online, the National Gambling Treatment Service has been able to continue to deliver good results for those receiving treatment.
“The worryingly low uptake of services however underlines the very real need to continue to raise awareness of and improve pathways to the Service, so that more people know that help is available.
“To assist here, we are continuing to deliver impactful campaigns to help elevate awareness of the service across the country. We have recently appointed FutureGov to develop a new Outcomes Framework and Service Delivery model to help deliver improved access to, and awareness of the NGTS. We also encourage healthcare professionals and other community support figures to refer people in need to the Service, yet we recognise that the NGTS cannot tackle this problem alone and we therefore call on other statutory sectors to track results of gambling treatments to help to deliver a clearer picture of treatment in Great Britain.”
On the same day, GAMSTOP stated they had reached 250,000 users of their self-exclusion programme, with 91% (228,000) of them currently self-excluding from gambling using their services.
More than 67,000 of these users came in 2021, an increase from the 51,000 that were recorded in 2020. March 2021 was GAMSTOP’s second-highest month in terms of new self-excluders with 7,000.
GAMSTOP have a number of key partners as well as many initiatives with football clubs, all aimed at boosting awareness of the service.
Speaking about these figures, the CEO of GAMSTOP, Fiona Palmer, said: “We have developed the scheme to make it easier to register and have worked hard on raising our profile to make sure we are more visible to those who might need us. The effects of the pandemic might also have something to do with the rise.
“The independent evaluation which took place during the first three months of this year showed us how effective our consumers felt the scheme had been to their ongoing recovery. This was very reassuring to the GAMSTOP team, the wider stakeholders and hopefully anyone thinking about registering. We are fully committed to improving the GAMSTOP service to make it even better next year.”
One of GAMSTOP’s partners is Betknowmore and they have teamed up with the Howard League to undertake two research projects as part of the latter’s Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling.
The first project will focus on the lived experience of women, while the second will be focused on ethnic minorities. The stated aim of the research is “to develop a knowledge base within the criminal justice system that recognises women’s and ethnic minorities’ experiences of gambling-related harms and their needs, thus lowering the potential for criminal justice interventions in the future.”
They are recruiting a small team of peer researchers to join the two projects so if you have relevant experience and are interested, follow the link for more details.
There was a very neat summary of last week’s dealings in Parliament in relation to the review of the 2005 Gambling Act in SBC News on Monday, courtesy of Regulus Partners. In the piece, they focused on a recent open letter from the Peers for Gambling Reform and the Gambling-related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group which urged PM Boris Johnson “to be bold in delivering the gambling reforms that are urgently needed to prevent gambling harm across the country.”
Interestingly, the list of regularly expressed reforms seems to have been watered down slightly compared to previous correspondence, while there was no real definition as to what “bold” means. The article looks forensically at this in relation to the current political situation in the UK, making for a fascinating and objective read.
Moving to France and regulator ANJ has teamed up with children’s news journal Mon Quotidien to publish a special edition called ‘Jeux d’argent et protection des mineurs’ (‘Gambling and the Protection of Minors’), which will educate 10 to 14-year-olds on the dangers of gambling.
Their families and schools will also be targeted as part of the campaign, with Mon Quotidien currently distributed to 38,000 state schools across the country. The special edition will focus on “gamblers who discovered gambling at a minor age” and “cartoons and infographics showcasing gambling risks”.
The initiative was launched following research from Harris Interactive that found that “41% of parents had suggested that their children play or participate in a gambling game”, with the OFDT, France’s addiction observatory, saying that 39% of under-17s had gambled for money.
The ANJ has also recently begun working with UNAF – the National Union of Family Associations – to increase awareness of how children engage with gambling products.
In Georgia, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has supported a new draft proposal that would heavily increase the taxation on online gambling firms, as well as deny gambling services to anyone under the age of 25.
Further measures include the banning of all televised, outdoor and internet marketing, while measures to ‘prohibit online casino operations’ are likely to follow.
There were two major stories in the Netherlands this week, with the first being the lower house of the Dutch Parliament green lighting a motion that could lead to greater advertising restrictions. The motion urged the Government to investigate the exposure of minors to gambling adverts online and on TV, with a potential pre-watershed ban on online advertising specifically mentioned.
Secondly, the KSA regulator recently conducted random checks of 20 land-based gaming arcades and discovered that most of them had not fully adopted the addiction prevention measures which they are obligated to do as part of the Remote Gambling Act. Whether players had registered with CRUKS, the country’s national exclusion database was being checked satisfactorily but the monitoring of the time customers had spent gambling and the frequency of players’ visits was still some way off being acceptable. It was noted that progress is being made though.
Finally, as ever, there are a couple of long reads for the final hour of your working week. On Monday, iGamingBusiness ran a fascinating interview with Martin Pullen of GiG on how technology is transforming and improving operator performance in relation to player protection.
The second story was part of Better Collective Spotlight series in SBC News, which this month shone a light on some of the initiatives the media behemoth had implemented to tackle problem gambling.