Safer Gambling Weekly Round-up by Dam Mad Media

Jenga - Safer Gambling

This week, GambleAware launched a new directive with the aim of enhancing its academic and research capabilities over the next three years.

Ahead of the start of the forthcoming academic year, GambleAware will award six grants to PhD students to research key priority areas in problem gambling research, education and treatment (RET).

Institutions have been invited to apply for the grants, with the final deadline for submission being 20 September.

GambleAware has laid down some key criteria for the awarding of the grants, which will go to PhD programs that focus on the following:

  • Lived experience of communities impacted by gambling harms
  • Researching the relationships of women, minority communities and young people with gambling and gambling-related harm
  • Researching gambling-related harm in relation to ‘secluded communities’, including the military, those living with disabilities, minority sexualities and gender identities.

Research Director (Interim) at GambleAware, Alison Clare, said: “This PhD grant award will go directly to universities and will help build a detailed knowledge of the experience of gambling harm within specific communities. It will also provide a unique opportunity for PhD students, who are at the start of their careers, to develop expertise in an emerging field. They will have the chance to complete a thorough, in-depth piece of research over several years which will contribute to building the knowledge and evidence of lived experiences of gambling harms.”

Coalition Against Gambling Ads

The Coalition Against Gambling Ads (CAGA) have announced they will embark on a five-day ‘Park the Bus’ tour of Britain starting on 6 September.

The not-for-profit campaigning group wishes to highlight the consequences on both the British public and young children of normalising gambling advertising and sponsorship.

The double-decker bus will stop at Wembley, Holyrood, the Senedd and Manchester’s Media City amongst other key places and will be wrapped in ‘impactful campaign branding’.

A number of organisations supporting the CAGA intend to speak with MPs, governing bodies, policy stakeholders and the public on why a blanket ban should be backed as part of the Government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Members of Clean Up Gambling, The Big Step Charity and Gambling with Lives are supporting the tour.

Children and gambling

Related to children and gambling, the latest Gambling Commission survey suggests that 10% of 16-17-year-olds said gambling ads influenced them to spend more, but peer pressure has the largest influence on gambling-related harm.

Of the 267 16-17-year-olds surveyed, 41% per cent said they see “lots” of gambling advertising, with 32% saying the gambling industry tends to advertise more than others.

The poll actually surveyed 16-25-year-olds, with 644 of the 962 people asked classifying themselves as gamblers (which included things like arcade-style machines and betting with friends). Combining this with the problem gambling severity index (PGSI), it was determined that statements about friends gambling correlated most closely with gambling-related harm.

These statements included “My friends encourage me to gamble more money”, which was the statement most associated with higher levels of risk. “My friends encourage me to gamble more often” and “My friends gamble more than the average person” were next.

Of those with no or low risk of gambling harm, only 11% of respondents said their friends gambled at an above-average rate, with this number rising to 41% for those deemed at a medium or high-level risk of harm. This suggests that a more holistic approach that targets friendship groups, as well as individuals, should be adopted by those aiming to tackle problem gambling.

Gambling advertising was seen as a ‘trigger-or-nudge’ to gamble rather than a determining experience.

The research was undertaken by agency 2CV and discovered a range of other findings. These included that life events and childhood engagement with gambling are inter-linked, particularly in relation to family holidays, first jobs and becoming financially independent. However, while exposure to gambling at an early age may have some influence, there was no definitive link between this and gambling in later life.

It was also noted that many people were at their most vulnerable to gambling-related harm when they had obtained independence from their families, particularly when moving away from home.

The report stated: “By age 20-21, young people are most at risk of falling into problem gambling as they adjust to their new freedoms. It’s also around this age that budgeting and taking steps to gamble safely (e.g. setting limits) are less likely to feel like a priority.”


Moving to Australia and Flutter-owned Sportsbet has launched their new ‘Take a Sec Before You Bet’ safer gambling initiative.

The aim is to encourage players to set deposit limits on all online betting accounts, with the campaign appearing on TV, radio, billboards and broadcast.

The CEO of Sportsbet, Barni Evans, said: “We have a vital role in the promotion of safer gambling and a responsibility to use our profile to send the message; no matter who you bet with, we want you to do so in a way that is safe and responsible.

“And setting a deposit limit is a proactive way to help keep your betting in check.”

American Gaming Association

Moving to the US and the American Gaming Association (AGA) has recommended a single national helpline as part of streamlined requirements in relation to national advertising campaigns.

The aim is to improve disclaimer readability and highlight problem gambling resources more clearly, particularly as each state has its own specific requirements regarding disclaimers. While this works in local advertising, things become muddied with national advertising due to so much competing information. This then results in diminished awareness.

AGA Vice President of Government Relations and Gaming Policy Counsel Jessica Feil said: “Problem gambling helplines are a vital resource for those in need of help. Unfortunately, lengthy lists of state-specific helplines on national advertisements create barriers for those seeking help when we should be making these critical resources easily accessible.

“This approach – allowing the use of a national helpline in national advertising – is the most effective way to protect players.”

Feil continued: “As gaming expands across the country, it’s imperative that our industry continues protecting all customers. We believe there shouldn’t be obstacles to help for those who need it, and modernization of the helpline system for national advertising is a good place to start.”

Kindbridge and Rutgers University

Finally, there was an interesting piece in GGB News on Monday detailing the partnership between Kindbridge and Rutgers University, which have launched a remote clinic for problem gamblers.

The article details the funding behind the initiative, the impact of COVID-19 in relation to problem gambling, the importance of focusing on a holistic mental health approach to gambling-related harm and why more data and research is needed in relation to the future efficacy of the project. It also highlights the two main advantages of their telehealth approach – convenience and privacy. It’s well worth a Friday afternoon read.

Andrew Morgan, Director, Dam Mad Media


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