The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has told the Government that the need to educate our future generations on the potential harms of gambling is more important than ever, regardless of any legislative changes.
The charity has submitted its written evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part the call for evidence for the Gambling Act Review. In their response, YGAM outlined the importance of education and the impact of their portfolio of evidence-led programmes.
The Gambling Act Review has been labelled a ‘once in a generation’ moment for everyone connected to the sector and YGAM believes the process presents an opportunity for the UK to set standards for the world to follow.
YGAM wants the issue of gambling harm to be is given the same level of focus as other public health issues such as alcohol and drugs. In their response, the independent charity has called for increased long-term funding to be directed towards research, education and treatment and meaningful engagement from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education. YGAM has also encouraged the Government to ‘support the progress that has been in the third sector and promote initiatives that demonstrate meaningful impact’. The charity is supporting the notion of a statutory levy.
James Matthewson, Marketing & Communications Manager at YGAM said “The Gambling Act Review presents a much-needed opportunity for the regulation to catch up but also an opportunity to demonstrate the ongoing progress being made to educate and safeguard future generations. This review will scrutinise all aspects of regulation and, as an education charity, we do not claim to have the expertise to contribute to most of these intricate policy decisions. We believe keeping our young people safe should be the key focus of any outcomes from this review. Prevention is a better solution than treatment and we want Government to recognise that education has a vital role to play.”
The topic of gambling harm prevention now features on the PSHE curriculum in England and whilst YGAM welcomes this, they argue it should be a compulsory awareness session for young people during secondary education. Figures released by YGAM earlier this year show that the education charity trained 2,906 practitioners in 2020 (up from its original target of 2,592) as part of the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention Programme. With this training, those practitioners have reached an impressive 184,700 young people to provide vital educational sessions on the harms associated with gambling and gaming (up from a target of 170,300).
The written evidence submitted by YGAM also calls for the gambling industry must do much more to protect consumers and admits that education alone will not prevent gambling harms. They charity welcomes the introduction of any further protections for young people and wants to see more done to minimise the exposure that children have to gambling advertising.
Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM recently wrote a column for The Times newspaper in which he said ‘we have a responsibility to educate young people about the risks of gambling’ and highlighted YGAM’s close working relationship with the education sector.