Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) founder Lee Willows has called for more diversity when it comes to gambling opinions.
He wants a variety of voices to be included in the ‘Experts by Experience’ initiatives, to represent “the totality of the gambling experience”.
Willows believes that by having a wider range of views, the initiatives will benefit from being more authentic.
In addition to people who suffer from gambling-related issues, the YGAM founder also wants to hear from individuals who enjoy gambling safely.
“Must include a chorus of different voices”
When talking about making sure that Experts by Experience is more inclusive, Willows said the following.
“It is pleasing to see more contributions made from people with direct experience of the tragic harm that gambling can cause some individuals, such as the YGAM Founders. Lived Experience or what the Commission is terming ‘Experts by Experience’ is a really important part of the conversation.
“My position is that Lived Experience must include a chorus of different voices and not just those who have experienced gambling disorder, but who represent the wider player spectrum. Personally, as someone who lost everything to a gambling addiction, I am always grateful for the opportunity to contribute my insight and experiences as such a level of inclusion would have been unheard of five years ago.”
Important to hear from players who enjoy gambling responsibly, as well as individuals who suffer from harm
YGAM is delivering numerous responsibility initiatives in gambling, including the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC)’s education programme.
Willows also pointed to the fact that most people enjoy gambling-related activities without suffering harm. He believes that by learning from these people – and how they achieve this – can help to better-understand both sides of the spectrum.
“Surely it’s important to understand how and why the vast majority of people who gamble can do so without experiencing a problem, as well as the reasons why some will develop significant and profound gambling related problems? If we accept the vast majority of people gamble within their means and with no adverse consequences, then understanding why this happens is just as useful as understanding why people like I cannot.
“By taking this much broader approach it would be amazing if different people within the debate can find some common themes to focus on and move forward in a progressive and non-judgemental way.”