ABSG Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms – Year Two
7 - Increased education and awareness raising activity
Prevention of harm has become even more of a mainstream narrative this year, as more women and sports celebrities106,107 have come forward and contributed their stories108. There has been a notable increase in the number and range of activities in relation to education and awareness raising. This has included activities targeting particular groups, including people from South Asian communities, women109, students, family members110 and children and young people111. These initiatives range from face-to-face workshops to an increasing range of remote learning and digital offers. It is also positive that these activities are increasingly combined with evaluations to learn about what works and why.
Case study 5: Don’t Bet Your Life on It
A good example of innovation can be seen in Don’t Bet Your Life on It (DBYLOI)112. This is an interactive web-based tool delivered in video, audio and text using avatar technology with a focus on early identification, ongoing education, support, signposting and self-directed behaviour change. It is designed ‘by players for players’ and has attracted interest from one of the UK’s leading banks as well as the Betting and Gaming Council (BCG).
The project has now entered its second phase of development, and will be offered to operators, sports clubs, colleges and universities, armed forces, public health departments, treatment and support services and financial institutions. The ambition is to replace existing messaging such as ‘When The Fun Stops, Stop’ (WTFSS), which BCG have committed to phasing out in 2021/22. We look forward to the results of the evaluation work that is accompanying this new initiative.
Other examples of activity include113:
GambleAware has delivered the next phase of their BetRegret campaign. This has focused on young men with high engagement in sports betting. Adverts promote ‘tapping out’ from a betting app as a method of moderating behaviour. The initial independent evaluation results show high levels of awareness of the adverts amongst this target group, and some evidence of behaviour change. It is also noted that this campaign is primarily delivered on TV, whereas operators tend to favour online marketing and advertising when targeting this demographic group. GambleAware will continue to invest in further phases of the campaign roll-out.
A collaboration between unions, local authorities, local NHS Trusts and Boards and third sector organisations114 to raise awareness of harmful gambling ‘Bet you Can Help’ has been offering remote training for employers and a pledge to address gambling-related harms in the workplace115.
YGAM is delivering student awareness raising hubs in universities - particularly targeting freshers’ week to increase awareness of gambling harms.
A number of third sector organisations are involved in work in schools across the three nations. These include:
Ofqual Level 2 Population Wide Education course on gambling harms for those aged 16+.
The Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland will also include reference to gambling harms.
FastForward’s educational development programme in Scotland.
GambleAware’s work with AQA on embedding gambling harms into its A level Psychology syllabus
PSHE Association are working with the Department for Education (England) to develop components on gambling for the PHSE curriculum and an evidence review by PSHEA and GambleAware to identify best practice in school-based gambling harm prevention.
ARA are leading a Youth Outreach Programme for young people and professionals working with young people in Wales.
Although the expansion in educational and awareness raising activity is positive, consistency, co-production, evaluation and strategies for long term funding are vital. Messages must be consistent and clearly targeted, so consumers are not confused by mixed messages and we must understand better what works. The role to be played by the Department for Education (England) in establishing these principles at a strategic level remains unclear.
The gambling industry itself also needs to be more transparent about the data it uses to assess the effectiveness of player messaging about safer gambling and other actions it takes to protect its customers from harm. Without this openness it is not possible to understand what impact is being achieved through the industry’s own actions.
106 Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton admits gambling addiction ruled his life (opens in new tab), Plymouth Herald, July 2020
107 TalkBanStop – with Michael Chopra (opens in new tab), January 2021
108 Women and gambling - Women’s hour (opens in new tab), January 2021
109 Women’s programme (opens in new tab), GamCare
110 GamFam (opens in new tab) - website
111 Gambling (opens in new tab), Royal Society for Public Health
112 Don’t bet your life on it (opens in new tab) - website.
113 Action map, Gambling Commission
114 Beacon Counselling Trust (opens in new tab) - website
115 Harmful gambling workplace charter, interim report, Beacon Counselling Trust, November 2020
Gambling is not yet fully integrated with local public health activity
Last updated: 17 April 2023
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Updated relevant links to go to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms Archive.