The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) is to roll out a £10m (€11.3m/$12.2m) independent education programme that aims to teach young people across the UK about the risks of gambling.
Through the initiative, the BGC aims to ensure all 11-19 year-olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive at least one session of gambling awareness education as part of their secondary or further education.
The programme, part of the BGC’s safer gambling commitments, will be delivered by GamCare and the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), and aims to provide reach 120,000 young people directly.
A further 100,000 education professionals, such as teachers, youth workers, community mental health practitioners, police and community sports trust will also be trained through the programme. By doing so, the BGC aims to ensure responsible adults have access to information about the risks of gambling, and the ability to identify gambling related harm in minors under their care.
Information will also be provided to parents and families, to ensure young people are kept safe, and can be referred for help or support.
“GamCare have been working with young people and youth facing professionals to deliver gambling education for many years,” GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings explained. “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.”
YGAM founder and CEO Lee Willows added that the charity was delighted to be working alongside GamCare and the BGC to deliver such an ambitious programme.
“Raising awareness and harm prevention education is an important component to reduce gambling-related harms,” he explained. “By training professionals who have influence over young people’s learning, we will equip these professionals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to not only deliver the programme but also highlight the age-appropriate support available from GamCare.”
The educational elements will be supported by a range of materials developed in accordance with educational best practice, with video and digital content to be developed to ensure it can be delivered during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.
Those flagged as having been impacted by gambling related harm through the teaching will also be able to directly access help and support from GamCare.
It is being funded by the BGC, which is providing money to the Charities Aid Foundation to be distributed based on YGAM and GamCare’s advice. The programme will also be assessed by an independent evaluator, to ensure it is fit for purpose.
“As the new standards body representing most of the regulated industry, the BGC is delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative,” BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said. “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.”
The launch of the educational initiative is the latest in a series of social responsibility measures spearheaded by the BGC in recent weeks. Having initially set out ten commitments for members to protect players under lockdown, it then coordinated an industry-wide ban on audiovisual advertising from 7 May.