The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced a new “lived experience” panel, which will be permanent.

The group, which met for the first time last week, will include both people affected directly by gambling-related harms and those impacted by others’ actions. 

An interim “experts by experience” panel was launched last summer, with the permanent version replacing this. 

“A real opportunity” 

In last week’s meeting, the panel discussed a variety of topics. Included in this was the 2005 Gambling Act review. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) began looking at existing legislation in December 2020. 

The interim panel was already working closely with the UKGC to provide advice and recommendations. Some of their recommendations included changes to online slot game mechanisms, which the governing body formally announced in recent weeks.  

Commenting on the new permanent panel, a spokesperson said: 

“We are pleased that the Gambling Commission has recognised the importance of listening to people who have been harmed by gambling and welcome their real commitment to ensuring that this can happen. 

“The creation of this group creates a real opportunity for the voice of those with lived experience to support and influence the work of the Gambling Commission.  

“We are a diverse group of people and bring a wide range of skills and personal experience of gambling harm. We take this role seriously and look forward to working together as a group to make progress in tackling gambling harm.”

“A great step forward” 

Last September, a GambleAware study found that more effort was needed to gain insights from those with lived experiences in gambling-related harms. One of the charity’s recommendations was a lived experience body, which would be fully-funded and independent.

UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur also spoke about the new panel, saying:

“The establishment of this group is a great step forward for us in our work in making gambling safer and building our understanding of harm and its impacts. 

“As already proven by the input of the interim group, the views and perspectives of lived experience in our decision making is invaluable and is already having a positive impact in our work in addressing gambling-related harm. 

“Lived experience feedback in our policy work has already led to progress through input to consultations on game design and customer interaction and affordability and strengthened online advertising rules.”

UKGC Chair William Moyes also shared his thoughts. He said:

“I welcome today’s announcement of the permanent Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which is a positive step towards better understanding harms caused by gambling. 

“By collaborating with those with lived experience, friends, families and communities, we can make faster progress to reduce gambling harms.”