Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission, used his keynote address at the GambleAware Conference in London this morning to highlight the importance of diversity in challenging assumptions.
“How do you balance consumer joy against the potential damage?” McArthur said. “A source of fun for most – and deeply ingrained in British life – but one that can cause harm to some.”
Like Mims Davies, minister for sport and civil society, before him, McArthur welcomed gambling related harm being recognised as a health issue as “a big step forward,” while he also welcomed the sector’s improved attitude to socially responsible gambling.
“But progress has been slower than everyone had hoped,” he cautioned. “‘Responsible gambling’ tends to focus on the individual’s behaviour,” said McArthur. adding that addressing the issues as “gambling related harm” shifts the onus to the operators.
“We using ‘gambling related harm’ as it goes wider than the individual and looks at the affects on families and society.
“We need more diversity in the gambling industry,” he said. “In research, in the understanding of consumer behaviour, in terms of interventional techniques and also with regards to treatment.
“We have made progress,” said McArthur, “but to maximise we need to harness the good intentions of the leaders in the gambling industry and nurture a culture that draws on the wide range of skills and experience – to benefit consumers and wider society.”