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UK Strategy Board Initiates Responsible Gambling Measures

20th October 2009 7:57 am GMT

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) has published its initial recommendations to the Gambling Commission and the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport concerning the priorities for research, education and treatment in order to support a national responsible gambling strategy.

The initial recommendations have been informed by the recommendations that the Board was asked to consider in the Gambling Commission's final research, education and treatment (RET) report of October 2008, as well as by the two rounds of consultation that were undertaken as part of that review. The report also included considerations and advice from the Board's expert panels, which drew on a range of existing research and evaluation material.

One key priority identified is the need for full and independent evaluation of existing and future treatment, education and prevention services.

The recommendations include exploration of a clinical governance framework and a tiered, integrated approach to problem gambling services in partnership with the NHS, including training for GPs, primary care practitioners and other relevant professionals to identify and screen for problem gambling, the commissioning of a national telephone helpline and website, as well as the development of a programme of research around high stake, high prize gaming machines.

The Board also emphasises the need to put in place proper systems of grant-making, including terms and conditions of grant and monitoring of expenditure and outputs, as well as new commissioning arrangements.

"I am pleased to receive this first set of recommendations under the new structure designed to ensure that effective research, education and treatment programmes are delivered cost effectively. We expect to respond in detail shortly," said Brian Pomeroy, Chair of the Commission.

Once the Gambling Commission has responded to the recommendations, expected towards the end of October, the RGSB will pass a strategic remit to the Responsible Gambling Fund (RGF), the body responsible for distribution of the funds raised by the gambling industry for RET purposes. The RGF will then develop and fund programmes which reflect the RGSB's priorities.

Baroness Neuberger, Chair of the RGSB said: "I look forward to the Gambling Commission's prompt response to our recommendations so that the RGF can take forward rapidly the Board's priorities and deployment of funds raised.

"Of course, development of a national responsible gambling strategy is ongoing. We will be talking in more detail to our stakeholders over the next six months or so to inform the Board's more detailed proposals due next summer."

UK Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe welcomed the progress made by the Strategy Board in developing its initial priorities for the research, education and treatment of problem gambling.

"Of course, the success of the strategy is dependent on the industry providing sufficient funds to support this important programme of work. I will be keeping a close eye on developments," said Sutcliffe.

More detailed recommendations from the RGSB are expected by summer 2010.

The full report 'Research, education and treatment: An initial strategy and priorities' can be downloaded in full here.

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