The UK’s top gambling charity, GambleAware, is teaming up with the researchers at Expert Link and will helm a new scheme with them to create a network of those who have lived experience of being harmed by gambling.
The network, designed by Expert Link, will be independent and will be nationwide, including members of all of Great Britain’s communities.
The group is designed as a means of influencing gambling policy and the debate on gambling policy.
GambleAware will fund this project for a year and a half. The aim is that the network will then become self-sustaining and independent, finding funding for itself.
GambleAware’s research director, Alison Clare, said:
“We know there are other lived experience groups already out there doing good work in this area, and this new group will fill any gaps and reach those who are harder to engage with.”
The charity is also about to support another group of victims of gambling harm. The as ‘Affected Lived Experience Research, Treatment and Support Group’, or ‘ALERTS’, this group has a similar set of entry requirements, but all of its members have experienced treatment from the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).
This group will look at treatment services and provide feedback from that experience for the NGTS.
They will speak to the National Clinicians Network Forum of the NGTS.
This group will be funded by GambleAware for a 12 month period. The group, ALERTS, will also offer independent advice to GambleAware as well as the NGTS.
“In order for us to ensure that the treatment services we commission are what people want and need, but also effective in preventing and reducing gambling harms, we must ensure the voices of people with lived experience are heeded,” said GambleAware’s commissioning manager Ruth Champion.
The gambling industry is jumping with ideas to reduce harms at the moment. And there is one simple reason for this. The UK Gambling Commission is due to report on a long review of the UK’s gambling legislation.
There is considerable pressure on politicians – many of whom receive funding and donations from gambling companies – to take action against what is widely perceived as an out of control gambling industry.
A massive increase in gambling in the UK has been highly visible. Not only is there a steady stream of unhappy stories in the press, often telling striking personal tragedies caused by debt and gambling addiction. But the UK’s top sports leagues are absolutely swimming in gambling money. Virtually every football club in eth UK is linked with a gambling brand.
The UK GC has already taken some steps: making slots slower, and enforcing some presentational changes in slots games, but the industry is also on a big publicity push to show that it is ready to make a change.
The most likely changes will be in advertising and possibly in the amounts of money that players are allowed to bet. Time will tell, but there are likely to be big changes in the gambling industry this year.