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Former YGAM CEO Willows launches new venture

| By iGB Editorial Team
Lee Willows, the former chief executive of the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), has announced the launch of ESG Gaming & Esports Community – a new not-for-profit venture.

Willows stated in a post on LinkedIn that the venture would focus on esports, igaming careers and research into safer gambling.

He added that he will be working alongside Gibraltar-based consultancy Better Change, which was established last year, and in particular the organisation’s co-founder Victoria Reed and strategic partnerships manager David Richardson.

“I have been fortunate to have taken some time away travelling and reflecting on my journey and recovery,” said Willows, who has personal experiences of harmful gambling.

“It has been an incredibly humbling seven years working alongside many friends and colleagues. I have chosen to remain in the gambling and gaming space and am establishing ESG Gaming & Esports Community.

“I hope to continue my learning alongside my studies and continue to use my lived experience in a humble and gracious way.”

Richardson added: “It’s great to work with and learn from Lee Willows, personally, as someone relatively new to the industry. We are very excited about the future and the impact Better Change can have in partnership with ESG Gaming.”

In a booklet to mark the launch, the venture stated that it will be asking companies in the gaming and gambling sector to consider making donations to fund its work, and also inviting them to link up with the organisation and its academic partners to undertake “purposeful research”.

The venture also wants companies to consider providing marketing support to ensure its brand – and key messages – will reach a wider audience at events such as esports tournaments.

“Our sector has continuing challenges around safer gambling, recruitment and talent retention, and we need to consider how we might integrate web 3.0 in a way which galvanises a customer base who are part of a larger community of safe players,” the booklet stated.

Willows, who founded YGAM alongside Anne and Keith Evans in 2014, stepped down as the charity’s CEO in October.

He was succeeded in January by Dr Jane Rigbye, a chartered psychologist and fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health, who had worked in a variety of senior roles at the GambleAware charity over the previous nine years.

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