The UK’s GambleAware has announced a dramatically increased budget for the next three years.
In its Strategic Delivery Plan for 2018-2020, GambleAware – the UK charity that promotes responsible gambling – announced a significant increase in its annual spending on tracking problem gambling.
Public health issue
The charity has confirmed that the increase is intended to allow core elements of its service to be delivered more quickly across the UK, and to provide additional funding for the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.
The chair of the board of trustees, Kate Lampard CBE, said: “In Britain, it is estimated that 430,000 people have a gambling problem and another 2 million are at risk of developing one. This is a public health issue that requires a broad array of organizations to work collaboratively to help reduce gambling-related harms.”
Broad reach for funding
The funding will be split across the charity’s different activity sectors, with £9.8m ($12.7m) being spent on research, £5.6m ($7.3m) on education, and £14.3m ($18.6m) on treatment. The charity’s main goal is to seek understanding of how problem gambling works for patients while increasing access to treatment by making services more widely available.
The CEO of GambleAware, Marc Etches, said: “With only 2% of problem gamblers receiving treatment, it is clear more needs to be done to make sure people are able to receive the help and support they need.”
Etches went on to say: “We all have a responsibility to try and help those who may be struggling with a gambling addiction. We look forward to seeing the industry, broadcasters, advertisers and sports groups do their part to help prevent gambling-related harm and work to raise awareness of the help and advice that is available.”
New collaborations on horizon
One of the most significant new projects the charity announced is the launch of a knowledge hub, that will include eLearning resources and other resources designed for teachers and other educators to teach young or vulnerable people about gambling.
The website will also offer downloadable printouts and guidance to allow information to be delivered in an effective manner to increase its impact amongst those learning about the subject. Focused campaigns will be developed to target vulnerable groups via social media, public and third sector organizations such as GPs and debt advisors. The charity will also be working with organizations such as sports teams to increase outreach.
In addition, GambleAware is working with multidisciplinary treatment centers outside London to enable more people to access treatment if they have complex needs that could not otherwise be treated in a more traditional setting.
The charity had been set an annual target of £10m ($13m) of voluntary donations, but the two-year plan is set to cost the charity £16m ($20m) per year. The outstanding funds will be covered by regulatory settlements and payments to good causes that have been agreed between gambling companies and regulators, in cases where the Gambling Commission decides not to use legal sanctions.
The increase in this revenue stream is allowing the charity to accelerate the delivery of services as announced in the two-year plan. While only 0.8% of the UK population are classified as problem gamblers, increasingly easy access to gaming platforms means that charities such as GambleAware are seeking to educate children and vulnerable people as early as possible to avoid this percentage increasing.
GambleAware chair Kate Lampard said: “The goal is to close the gap between the number of those getting treatment and those who need it by increasing the range, quality, and quantity of early interventions and treatment, and by preventing people from getting into difficulty in the first place.”