UK charity GambleAware has publicly implored ministers not to further delay publication of the Gambling Act white paper, despite the political chaos that currently grips the ruling Conservative Party.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to resign after mass defections crippled his government last week and a successor will not be chosen until early September.
The shake-up is expected to push back the publication of a white paper that was initially expected in late 2021.
GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond said: “We sincerely hope the current political situation will not result in further delay. Millions of people are currently at risk of experiencing gambling harms across Great Britain and up to 7 percent of the population may be affected by the gambling behaviour of someone close to them.”
Osmond said that as the UK wrestles with a cost-of-living crisis, “it is vital that gambling harm is addressed as an urgent public health issue and that the upcoming white paper will propose a consistent and sustainable funding model to ensure the long-term stability and certainty of necessary prevention and treatment services”.
GambleAware’s status as the primary commissioner of gambling research in the UK has been called into question over its reliance on industry funding.
In January, the National Health Service severed its ties with the charity over its connections to the gambling industry.
A mandatory responsible gambling levy of 1 percent is among the headline policy changes that could feature in the white paper, although recent press reports suggest its inclusion in the final document remains uncertain.
Separately, on Friday (July 8), GambleAware published its latest piece of research, which argues that much of the existing work on gambling harms uses language that demonises gamblers suffering harm.
The study’s authors found frequent evidence of stigma and discrimination among the 54 pieces of research from 19 countries that they analysed.
The academics recommend that reports use language like “person who struggles with gambling” instead of “gambling addict” or “problem gambler”. They also said authors should say that a person with a gambling disorder “has” a problem, rather than “is” a problem.
Research should also avoid the use of the word “addict”, they said.
The report recommends training healthcare providers on the way that use of stigmatising language can discourage people from seeking treatment.
“Over the coming months and years, a major part of our work will be focused on reducing stigma and the barriers people face when accessing the support they need,” said Osmond.
"We welcome the study findings and will use the recommendations to strengthen our work, including our public health campaigns to raise awareness of gambling harms and encourage people to get help,” she said.