GambleAware has published a new report evaluating the Gambling Support Service and its effectiveness in England and Wales.
The Gambling Support Service was delivered by local Citizens Advice offices in 12 regions across the two countries between October 2018 and March 2021, and GambleAware’s independent process and impact evaluation report analyses its success and identifies key facilitators, barriers, and opportunities.
The report, which was commissioned by GambleAware and completed by KantarPublic, found that one of the key facilitators was Citizens Advice’s respected role in the community and its expertise in providing clients with support for sensitive issues. This allowed front-line workers to uncover and support clients who were at risk or experiencing gambling-related harm.
GambleAware states that of the 30,000 people who were screened for gambling harm by Citizens Advice, the evaluating team found that one of the main barriers was the consistency in screening practices across offices.
Evaluators also found that there was a lack of flexibility in the screening questions, a perceived stigma in acquiring support, and a limited capacity of front-line workers across offices, leading to an inconsistency in the frequency and format of screening questions.
GambleAware says to overcome concerns and resistance to screening, the program should explore flexibility in the use of screening questions to encourage more natural conversations with clients, and should be more widely promoted by National Citizens Advice.
The charity says that the training given to front-line workers should focus more on the issue of perceived uncomfortable conversations about gambling harms to reduce hesitancy and increase the confidence of front-line workers to ask clients about gambling-related harm.
Helen Owen, the Evaluation and Monitoring Director at GambleAware, said in a statement: “This thorough evaluation has evidenced Citizens Advice’s important role in providing advice for people at risk of or experiencing gambling harm and signposting them to help.
“Alongside this, it has helped identify the main barriers to success for the gambling support service. With this understanding, we now have a clear view on what opportunities there are to improve the service. The learnings from this evaluation have contributed to the commissioning of the new process and model, at a National Citizens Advice level.”
Daniel Marshall, the Head of Business Development at Citizens Advice, added: “Problem gambling can have life-changing effects, not only for those gambling, but for their family, friends and colleagues as well. It’s so important that anyone who is struggling knows they can get help and that they don’t need to deal with this alone. We are very pleased to be working with GambleAware on such an important project.”
Also this week, leading game developer Playtech has announced that it’s signed up to the All-In Diversity Project, an initiative designed to benchmark diversity, equality, and including within the gambling industry.
According to Playtech’s announcement, the sign-up is part of the company’s Sustainable Success, its global sustainability strategy for growing the business in a way that positively impacts people, the industry, the environment, and communities.
As a member of the non-profit All-In Diversity Project, Playtech will be given access to key information, webinars, and training on equality, diversity, and inclusion. Other members of the project include Scientific Games, Flutter, the Kindred Group, Microgaming, Entain, IGT, and more.
Shimon Akad, the Chief Operating Officer at Playtech, said in a statement: “We are delighted to partner with All-In Diversity to help champion diversity and inclusion at Playtech, as well as within our sector.
“As the leading technology supplier in the industry, it is imperative to our success that we are able to lead the industry in building a sustainable, commercially viable, entertaining first industry – for the benefit of all.”
He added: “Partnering with the All-In Diversity Project will play an important role in supporting our efforts to promote an inclusive culture and accelerate progress on every aspect of diversity within the organisation.”
Kelly Kehn, the Co-Founder of the All-In Diversity Project, said: “Playtech’s timing could not be better. As we continue to grow and align our work with the needs of the industry, having the support of established industry leaders is key to driving impactful change. This together with their commitment to the Project we are very much looking forward to their commitment and good work we can accomplish with their support.”
The news comes after Playtech announced a content agreement with US television network AMC Networks. Under the agreement, Playtech will develop new titles based on some of AMC’s popular franchises, including The Walking Dead, Marriage Boot Camp, and Bridezillas.
Gambling regulators from 14 EU Member States have written to the European Commission, calling for the re-establishment of the EU Expert Group on Gambling.
The EU Expert Group on Gambling consisted of several representatives from European gambling authorities and was used by regulators to share information and best practices about market regulation. Although it was considered a success, the group disbanded in 2018.
According to GamblingInsider, the EGBA has backed the call, hoping that re-establishing the Expert Group will facilitate and support the cooperation between gambling authorities across the European Union.
A statement from the EGBA reads: “Europe’s gambling market is worth €100 billion each year, with many millions of Europeans playing, but the absence of the Expert Group means that, unlike any other consumer market, there is currently no formal framework for regulatory cooperation at EU-level.
“EGBA has previously called on the Commission to reinstate the Expert Group and believes the challenges facing gambling regulation mean that formal and structured regulatory cooperation between EU Member States is even more important to help protect European consumers.”
EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer said: “There is currently no EU framework for gambling regulators to even communicate, let alone to jointly tackle the big issues affecting Europe’s online gambling sector. Most of these issues are cross-border in nature and require common solutions.
“We, therefore, welcome the strong commitment to regulatory cooperation and call to action from the majority of Europe’s gambling regulators. The message to the European Commission is clear: both gambling regulators and the sector itself are united in support of the Expert Group and call upon the Commission to reinstate the Expert Group.”