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UKGC in New Strategy to Reduce Effects of Harmful Gambling

by Glenn Baird - April 26, 2019

The UKGC have released a new strategy that will attempt to reduce the harmful effects of gambling. Known as the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, the UK regulator will implement the 3-year strategy in what it believes will “bring a lasting impact on reducing gambling harms.”

The UKGC has announced that they will be working across sectors in what they believe is a more effective way to combat the issue. Close interactions with “health bodies, charities, regulators and businesses” will pave the way for a focus on the following priorities:

• “Prevention and Education – making significant progress towards a clear public health prevention plan which includes the right mix of interventions.

• Treatment and Support – delivering truly national treatment and support options that meet the needs of users.”
Part of the strategy will see a new National Research Centre that will gather, analyse and evaluate key data in order to allow the UKCG to make more informed changes within the industry.

In a statement launching the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, chairman of the Gambling Commission, William Moyes said:

“This new strategy will provide us and our partners the opportunity to make faster progress to reduce gambling harms. It will not just benefit the health and wellbeing of those directly affected and in need of support, but also those such as friends, families, communities and wider society.

“The success of this strategy relies on everyone working together to reduce gambling harms through prevention and education, and treatment and support. Everyone has a role to play to combat gambling harms and I’m delighted that the health sector, charities and businesses are showing their commitment to get behind the strategy and make it a success.

“We all need to better understand the harms that can be caused by gambling, moving away from simply counting problem gamblers and instead build a greater understanding of the harms experienced. Over the lifetime of the strategy we will better understand the full range of harms and how to protect against them.’’

The sentiment was echoed by Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, who said:

“Protecting people from harm should be at the heart of every gambling business. Addiction can ruin lives and it is vital that those who need help are given the right treatment at the right time.

“The Gambling Commission’s strategy reflects our clear expectation that the whole sector must come together to reduce problem gambling and the harm it does to people and their families. Through increased research, education and treatment I want to see faster progress made in tackling this issue.”

Attempts to bring sectors together to combat the problem meant that national director for mental health at NHS England, Claire Murdoch was in attendance and she had this to add:

“There is increasing evidence of a link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health issues and this is an important step in the battle to reduce the harm caused.

“The NHS is playing its part with the Long Term Plan committing to an increase in mental health services for patients with a gambling problem but gambling addiction is not just the NHS’s problem – it is an issue for the whole of society affecting people of all ages and backgrounds which is why it is everyone’s responsibility to act. That is why the NHS looks forward to working closely with our partners to protect vulnerable people and ensure they have the right support.”

Further support for the initiative was given by Rosanna O’Connor, Director of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Justice at Public Health England, again highlighting the number of different agencies that are involved in the strategy.

A website, www.reducinggamblingharms.org , was also launched yesterday, outlining in detail what the future for the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms might look like.