Britain’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced the launch of a £10-million programme to educate the nation’s children about the risks associated with gambling.
The National Gambling Education and Support programme is targeting 11 to 19-year-olds in the country and will be delivered by the GamCare and YGAM charities.
The independent initiative “will equip a generation of young people to better understand the risks associated with gambling and engage with gambling products and environments in an informed way,” the BGC said in a press release.
The programme is part of the BGC’s Safer Gambling Commitments, announced in November last year.
It aims to reach-out to 120,000 youngsters and 100,000 professionals who deliver education to young people, among them: teachers, youth workers, mental health practitioners, police and community sports trusts.
Overall, GamCare and YGAM have also set out the following shared aspirations for gambling education in the UK:
Ultimately, it is hoped that all youngsters in the 11 to 19-years age range in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive at least one session of gambling awareness education during their secondary or further education.
All teachers, youth workers and other professionals working with young people in the three countries should have access to information about the risks of gambling, how to identify gambling related harm to young people and where help can be sought.
All parents and families, it is hoped, will have information about young people’s gambling, how to keep young people safe, and where they can be referred to for help and support.
All youngsters, aged 18-years or under, who are deemed “at risk’’ from gambling, or who have developed a problem with gambling, should have access to age-appropriate treatment. This also applies to children who are affected by the gambling of someone close to them, such as a parent.
Anna Hemmings, CEO of GamCare, said: “We have been working with young people and youth-facing professionals to deliver gambling education for many years.
“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.”
For his part, Lee Willows, founder and CEO of YGAM, said: “This is an ambitious programme.
“Raising awareness and harm-prevention education is an important component to reduce gambling-related harms. By training professionals who have influence over young people’s learning, we will equip these professionals with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be a positive force.”
BGC Chief Executive Michael Dugher added: “The BGC is delighted to be supporting this fantastic initiative. 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.
“The overwhelming majority of people who gamble in the UK do so in a safe way. This important project is part of our ongoing determination to promote safer gambling and to further drive up standards.”
To ensure the programme is delivered throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, resources will be enriched by quality video and digital content concomitant with the way most young people consume information today.
An independent evaluator will gauge the programme’s results.