To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students who have gambling addictions.
9 February 2022
As autonomous bodies, it is for higher education (HE) providers to determine what welfare and counselling services they need to provide to their students. They are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.
The government strongly supports the Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities framework, calling on HE leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority. The government also supports The University Mental Health Charter, which outlines that effective services should be responsive to changes in need among their population, including specific issues such as addiction.
We remain committed to preventing gambling-related harm and ensuring those experiencing it can access the right treatment and support whenever and wherever they need it. The NHS Long-Term Plan, published in July 2019, announced the creation of 15 specialist problem gambling clinics by 2023/24, with up to £15 million of funding over the same period. Work continues on the phased expansion of these services, enabling the NHS to explore how best to use existing treatment models to reach those most in need of support.
The government and the Gambling Commission have also significantly raised requirements around age verification, banned gambling on credit cards, made online slots safer with a new game design code, mandated integration with Gamstop (the one-stop online self exclusion scheme) and introduced new rules on VIP schemes
We are also reviewing the Gambling Act to ensure it is fit for the digital age. A core objective of the review is to ensure effective protections are in place for the further protection of vulnerable groups, including children and young people. We are considering the evidence carefully and will publish a white paper outlining any conclusions and proposals for reform in due course.
From September 2020, the subject of health education was made compulsory in all state-funded schools. This includes teaching young people about the risks relating to gambling, including the accumulation of debt.
The NHS website offers support for those that are worried they may have a gambling problem, and outlines support: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/gambling-addiction/.