The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has committed £10 million to an initiative that will educate youngsters throughout the UK about responsible gambling.
Charities such as GamCare and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) shall deliver the programme.
Beneficiaries of the education will be 11-19-year-olds throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
BGC members will also contribute to the cause through their own individual funding.
“A lack of clear understanding about the potential risks”
The programme will form part of the BGC’s Safer Gambling Commitments, which it announced in November 2019. Direct educational provisions will be provided to 120,000 individuals, while over 100,000 professionals will offer training for young people. Some of those professionals include teachers, youth workers, community mental health practitioners, police and community sports trusts.
Both GamCare and YGAM share the below “shared aspirations for gambling education in the UK”.
- At least one gambling awareness session for 11-19-year-olds in their secondary/further education.
- Access to information about gambling risks, identifying related harm and knowing where to find help for teachers and others working with young people.
- Access to information about young people’s gambling to parents and families. They should also know how they can keep young people safe and where to refer them for help and support.
- Young people ‘at risk’ of or have developed a problem with gambling, or are affected by the gambling of someone close to them (e.g. a parent), should have access to age-appropriate treatment.
GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings shared her thoughts on the new initiative, which were as follows.
“GamCare have been working with young people and youth facing professionals to deliver gambling education for many years. What we see in the classroom tends to be polarised views on gambling, and a lack of clear understanding about its potential risks.
“We are delighted to be working with YGAM and extending this much needed programme. We believe that gambling education should have parity with education around other risky behaviours and the extension of this programme will help us take a significant step towards achieving that aim.”
Getting started virtually
The programme will have various online features. These include video and digital content, aimed to cater for the popular content consumption methods of today’s youngsters. The council has done this to ensure that education can be delivered during COVID-19.
Individuals identified as suffering from the impacts of gambling-related harm, they will be given access to support from GamCare. They can also benefit from BigDeal, the charity’s youth-facing website.
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher also commented on the programme. He had the below to say.
“As the new standards body representing most of the regulated industry, the BGC is delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative. Educating our young people is vital if we are to ensure that they are better informed and fully aware of the potential risks.
“It’s also essential that those who are teaching them are fully trained and able to look out for the tell-tale signs of any gambling-related harm and how to access help if required. Millions of people occasionally enjoy gambling, whether that’s on the National Lottery or on sports or bingo or gaming.
“The overwhelming majority of people who gamble in the UK do so in a safe way. This important project and investment is part of our ongoing determination at the BGC to promote safer gambling and to further drive up standards.”
Responsible gambling has been a growing theme of importance in the UK. From 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2020, over £10 million was donated to GambleAware.