In June the five biggest operators and members of The Betting & Gaming Council confirmed they would provide £100m worth of funding to GambleAware, in order to improve treatment services.

Speaking on the last day of SBC Summit Barcelona- Digital held earlier this month, GVC’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Martin Lycka, Epic Risk CEO, Paul Buck, RecoverMe Co-Founder Minal Jain and Head of External Affair for YGAM, Daniel Bliss gathered to discuss the most effective ways to spend this money to achieve the biggest impact. 

The experts discussed how they would each approach the government’s view of The Gambling Act 2005 and debated if the industry is getting it right when it comes to Reviewing the Research, Education and treatment arrangements.

During the ‘What’s the Best Way to Spend £100m’ panel Buck believed that the funding needs to be split between prevention & education and treatment. He reasoned that: “by investing it purely into treatment all we are probably doing is creating an environment going forward where we get more and more people falling off the edge of a cliff, and at least they have somewhere to be treated if that amount of money has been invested.

“I would personally, if you ask me for figures, go for maybe 60 per cent into treatment, 20 percent into research and 20 percent into prevention and education.”

Agreeing with Buck’s view, Lycka added: “I believe that the split needs to be more balanced than just whack it all on treatment. More money needs to be spent on treatment not only in the UK but in many other countries that have been the poor sister of prevention, research and education in the last few years, but at the same time it can’t be the case that the other relatives that so far have been better funded would lose that funding.”

Jain suggested investing into pathway treatment technologies: “from my perspective the integration of current services is really important and looking to see how we can embrace technology, like RecoverME for example, is something that we could focus our energies on.”

Buck agreed, as he said that: “Embracing technology will mean a much greater number of people, a much greater percentage of people, will be able access treatment 24/7 in exactly the same way that they can access gambling 24/7.”

Lycka again elaborated on the importance of embracing technology during the pandemic to help problem gambling – especially since certain activities, such as group sessions, were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

He noted: “The bottom being line being that having anonymised methods of obtaining the relevant information, but also having opportunities to talk to the professionals in a way that makes sure that I will not be stigmatised for going and trying to resolve my problem, will ultimately be extremely extremely helpful because there are a lot of people out there that, for very good reasons, are not prepared to share that they have this problem, and at this same time they will be able to resolve, or try to resolve this, by electronic means because they will simply feel much more comfortable with it. 

“It will give them the chance to do something about their gambling problem, whereas if they had to force themselves to attend a gamblers anonymous session, for example, they may not like it, they may not get the most out of it, and unfortunately their problem might develop a little but further.” 

Industry experts discuss GambleAware funding for problem gambling