GwL launches pioneering gambling education programme 

Gambling with Lives has created a ground-breaking new youth education programme, which is aimed at preventing gambling harm in young people.

As of autumn 2021, the programme was being piloted at schools in Essex, Manchester, and Northern Ireland before being rolled out across the country. Created by experts on gambling harm, academics, teachers, award-winning filmmakers, and people with lived experience of gambling harm, the programme aims to influence the way gambling awareness education is delivered to young people and address the lack of information and help currently available – something that leads to hundreds of lives being lost each year. 

The trailer for our educational film.

“We can protect the young by giving them information that is unbiased, and evidence-based – raising awareness of how addiction occurs is better than just waiting for it to develop. But education is not enough – we need real change to regulation and enforcement to protect the public,” said James Grimes, our Head of Education. 

“What makes this programme unique is that it includes the role of addictive products and predatory marketing in causing harm”   

James Grimes

Our programme is based on solid published research about education and awareness-raising across other products like drugs, tobacco and alcohol and covers the basics of gambling including understanding odds, risk and the “house edge”.  

But, crucially, it also focuses on how addictive products work and the methods and impact of industry marketing, which sets it apart from programmes delivered by industry-funded charities. 

Lord Foster, Chair of the Peers for Gambling Reform, opens the Q&A session at our education programme launch.

The programme was formally launched at an event in London in September 2021. The launch included a screening of a short film dramatization that is a key part of the education programme, highlighting the risk of harm from different gambling products and industry practices, including insight from professionals and those with lived experience of gambling harm. The screening was followed by a Q&A session, hosted by actor and presenter Alexis Conran with a panel that included: 

  • Lord Foster (Chair of the Peers for Gambling Reform) 
  • Anna van der Gaag (Chair of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling) 
  • Liz Ritchie (Chair of Gambling with Lives) 
  • Steve Watts (Founder and CEO of GamFam) 

The event was attended by campaigners, health professionals, parliamentarians, members of the charity and bereaved family members who have lost loved ones to gambling-related suicide. 

Research shows there are an estimated 250–650 gambling-related suicides in the UK each year, and that people with gambling disorder are up to 15 times more like to take their lives than members of the general population. There is evidence that 1.4 million UK adults and 55,000 children are addicted to gambling in the UK.