UK Gambling white paper aims to redress power imbalance and prevent addiction

Forward Trust’s chief executive, Mike Trace, comments on the UK Government’s new white paper, High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age.

Photo by Nik on Unsplash

The UK Government has released a white paper that proposes several changes to gambling regulation in the country. The aim of the white paper is to redress the power imbalance between gamblers and operators while preventing addiction from occurring.

The white paper comprises several proposals that have been welcomed by the gambling industry and addiction charities.

Speaking today, Forward Trust chief executive Mike Trace commented on the white paper: “Gambling addiction is a serious mental health condition. It has lagged behind wider health and mental health priorities for far too long. We welcome new focus on market restrictions and long overdue movement on treatment levies, but it is crucial that these levies are rapidly and effectively spent on the treatment that so many people need.”

The impact of gambling addiction

Gambling addiction is a serious mental health condition. It can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families. The shame and stigma associated with it, particularly it’s associations with financial hardship, can prevent people from seeking help, which can only compound and deepen the problem and its devastating consequences.

As Mike Trace points out, gambling addiction has lagged behind other health priorities for far too long. It is a complex condition that requires access to specialist support and treatment.

The need for accessible treatment options

While the white paper is an important step forward on prevention and treatment, the Forward Trust believe that more needs to be done to address the addiction crisis silently growing in homes across the country post-pandemic.

Mike Trace goes on to say, “Prevention measures are a huge step forward, but we must recognise the addiction crisis happening today in the UK. Treatment must be available to all who need it either in specialist residential centres such as Clouds House or specialist-designed support in the community.

“Too many people struggle to access the treatment they need, and when it is accessed, it largely operates separately to community addiction services, that could offer the peer support we know is so important to recovery.

“Families struggle with limited support, which can exacerbate the emotional and psychological trauma of watching a loved one struggle with addiction.”

The Forward Trust believe that the UK Government’s white paper is an important step forward and it begins to address the power imbalance between gamblers and operators.

However, Mike Trace concludes, “The impact of gambling addiction on individuals and families requires a comprehensive treatment response. Treatment must match up to the scale and complexity of the challenges those affected face. We will be urging the government to shape a support system that not only prevents addiction but one that delivers a sufficient response when it occurs.”

This blog was originally published by The Forward Trust. You can read the original post here.

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