In a progressive and far-thinking move, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has established an “Experts by Experience”, or EbE, group to warn of the potential harms and risks posed by runaway betting.
All members of the EbE are people who have suffered from a wide range of gambling harms and addictions.
It is hoped that the group will help broaden the quality and credibility of the UKGC’s advice system and improve recommendations and policies to reduce negative issues in gaming.
The EbE will also help raise safer gambling standards and improve the understanding of gaming’s impact on society.
In a statement, the UKGC underlined the importance of consulting people with the “lived experience of being effected by gambling harms, including recovering gambling addicts, family members and those who have lost children to gambling suicides.”
UKGC CEO Neil McArthur, said: “We will work with the interim group to co-create a formal Advisory Board, which will allow us to involve ‘Experts by Experience’ more closely in the development of our regulatory framework.
“It is early days and we are learning along the way to ensure that feedback and advice is utilised in the most effective way.”
The UKGC has earmarked three sectors in which it aims to make rapid progress: high-rolling VIP customers, the impact of advertising technology and “safe game” designs.
They have also asked a wide range of public health gurus, civic authorities and gambling and tech experts for input.
The EbE group will initially advise the UKGC for six months, after which the Commission intends to form a permanent advisory group.
EbE members, meantime, are to remain anonymous.
“The establishment of the group is long overdue,” said a spokesperson for the experts.
“Too often our stories and views are ignored and not taken into consideration.
‘We are determined that EbEs should play a continuing and much more active role in the deliberations and decision making across the whole remit of the Commission as part of the National Strategy to reduce gambling harms.
“We can bring a new and vital perspective on key issues of regulation and even on how the Commission itself works.”