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  • Pitch Imperfect

    I was asked to contribute to an article in The Big Issue North written by Mark Lomas about gambling's relationship with football. The article Pitch imperfect - Big Issue North was written following another Big Step. This time we walked 300 miles from Scotland to England asking for broadcasters to remove gambling advertising during Euro 2020 (which took place in 2021). Twitter - @marklomasSport

  • Charity football match raises £2370 for good causes

    On Saturday 17th July the gambling harms / recovery community, family and friends, all came together at the home of Billericay Town Football club, to watch a charity football match between the All Bets Are Off podcast and charity YouTube football team, Peoples FC. The teams were comprised of individuals harmed by gambling and players from the Peoples FC to create two evenly-matched and well-balanced squads. The All Bets Are Off team was managed by co-host of the pod Chris' father John Gilham, whilst Peoples FC were led by Steve Watts, the founder of GamFam. Our friends at Gamban sponsored the match in the name of the TalkBanStop campaign which they are a part of, alongside GamCare and GAMSTOP. EPIC Risk Management were our matchball sponsors and kindly provided nine brand new Premier League footballs for the warm-up and match itself. A number of our allies from within the gambling harms education, prevention and treatment world supported us by purchasing advertising space in the matchday programme. They include RecoverMe, Gambling Guardian, Reframe Coaching, Betknowmore, Deal Me Out and EPIC Restart Foundation. This helped to cover the cost of printing and so every programme sold could go towards the three causes that we were raising money for (you can download a PDF version of the matchday programme below). The event was incredibly well received by everyone who participated and the sepctators, many of whom work within gambling harm prevention and/or whom campaign for positive legislative change. We were also joined by representatives from NHS mental wellbeing service VitaMinds, who gave a talk on the subject of mental health. Prior to kick-off the players and spectators held an extremely emotional one minute applause for all those that had lost their lives to gambling-related harms and mental health problems. It was an incredibly hot day but that didn't impact the quality of football on display. The All Bets Are Off team triumped 4-3 in a pulsating, yet very close, game of football. Collectively we were able to raise £2370.06, which was split between the following three chosen causes: NHS Northern Gambling Service, Gamvisory's Hardship Fund and Rosie's Legs. Each receiving £790.02. At the full-time whistle many people commented on how much that they had enjoyed the day and were already asking us whether this would be an annual event. Given its success we can confirm that we will be making this a permanent fixture. We would like to thank everyone that came and supported us and all those that contributed, Billericay Town Football Club for being magnificent hosts as always, and the fantastic volunteers who ran the gate and car park for us. The full 90-minute match can be found on YouTube by clicking here.

  • The National Education Group: Parents & Carers

    The National Education Group are a multi-award winning provider of remote, expert-led CPD, with a mission to empower schools in the UK and overseas to drive up standards. Recently we were approached by The National Education Group to support in providing information and copy for a guide on sports betting and the risks that parents and carers need to know, to protect children (see below). The guide was shared on National Online Safety which has over 300,000 users in over 40 countries and shared on their social media platforms which has over 43,000 followers. We look forward to working with The National Education Group on future initiatives.

  • Gambling harm and stigma

    What is Stigma? Stigma is a social phenomenon where certain characteristics, qualities or features of an identifiable group are regarded in a strongly negative light. Stigma against marginalised groups can lead to stereotypes, prejudice, and even discrimination. It occurs on a personal and institutional scale – stigma may make it harder for a single person affected by harm to speak out, or it may cause policymakers to underfund necessary prevention and treatment programmes. Types of stigma: Self-stigma: an individual’s self-discrimination from self-blame concerning their gambling and an accompanying sense of shame Public stigma: widespread negative perceptions of people affected by gambling harm propagated by society Structural stigma: political and policy approaches which discriminate against those affected by gambling harms How does stigma affect people with gambling harm? It is reported that stigma hinders or prevents treatment for individuals suffering from substance abuse and disordered gambling (Yang, Wong, Grivel and Hasin, 2017). Stigma can lead to policymakers underfunding necessary treatment programmes. Equally, stigma can dissuade individuals from speaking openly. If people who have a gambling disorder experience less stigma, they may feel more able to ask for help and take steps towards recovery. Studies have shown that people who suffer from gambling harm experience anxiety over how their disorder might be perceived and the potential negative consequences accompanying this. Because of this anxiety, other less healthy coping mechanisms are adopted, such as hiding and cognitive distancing (Dąbrowska and Wieczorek, 2020). The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation make a distinction between self-stigma and public stigma. The former refers to stigma from the point of view of people with a gambling disorder and how they perceive themselves. The latter describes the point of view of others, perceiving individuals with a gambling disorder. Stigmatising beliefs can lead to people who gamble compulsively experiencing greater difficulties and further harm, such as increased self-blame and intensified feelings of guilt. Moreover, individuals with problem gambling experience high levels of fear regarding how others perceive them, despite experiences of direct discriminatory behaviours being relatively low (Hing, Nuske, Gainsbury and Russell, 2015). Examples of stigmatising misconceptions surrounding those with gambling disorders: Fixed nature of disorders: people affected by disordered gambling are framed as though they have no capacity or desire to change, which misrepresents gambling addiction Personal responsibility: people affected by disordered gambling are framed as though they are making deliberate choices to gamble Othering and dehumanisation: people affected by disordered gambling are described through addiction-first language that dehumanises them. People tend to keep a distance from them – thinking, “This could never happen to someone like me”. Why is some language stigmatising? It is important to think about why certain language is stigmatising. The choice of certain language and phrases over others can have far-reaching implications for the way in which topics, such as gambling harm, are discussed. Whether or not something is stigmatising often comes down to how the topic is framed. Subtle differences in the words we use, often chosen unconsciously, can create vastly different impressions. The language we use is important because of the non-explicit messages which are conveyed. Depending on how we phrase our words, we have the ability to avoid accidentally implying unnecessarily punitive attitudes and individual blame. The most appropriate terminology is person-first and emphasises that this person has a problem – for example, “person with a gambling disorder” or “person who gambles compulsively” instead of “gambling addict” or “problem gambler”. In addition, language should be clinically accurate – “in recovery” rather than “clean”. This language is non-stigmatising and centres the focus on the person, acknowledging them as an individual first and foremost, while also speaking about gambling in a clear and neutral way. It conveys the meaning that a person “has” a problem rather than that a person “is” a problem (Kelly, Saitz and Wakeman, 2016). When these ideas about stigmatisation are applied to all language used to discuss gambling harm, a far healthier environment is created. Unfortunately, language like “problem gambler” is still common in research, policy and media despite these terms being found to negatively impact the sense of hope and self-efficacy of patients. What are the stigmatising terms for gambling harm and drug use and what are the terms that they should be using? The table below has been prepared to provide examples of non-stigmatising language alongside equivalent stigmatising language, based on a table provided for similar terms relating to drug addiction. On the right-hand side of the table are two columns. The first is a list of terms that can be used to describe Problem Gambling in a way which frames the conversation by putting individuals first. The second column is a list of terms that are often used yet stigmatise those who gamble compulsively. For reference, the two left-hand columns provide the original table of terms concerning drug usage. Theories for understanding stigma Just World Theory: Refers to the cognitive fallacy that people tend to believe that the world is orderly and fair, and that people’s actions will bring morally just consequences. Good will be rewarded, and “evil” will be punished. Some people, for example, may wrongly think people who are in debt “deserve” it, for being affected by compulsive gambling, or some other perceived misdeed. Attribution error: the assumption a person’s actions are dependent on what “kind” of person they are – people who do “bad” things must be “bad” people. This attribution can be applied retroactively. Labelling theory: The understanding that when somebody has been given a label that differentiates them as “other”, they will be treated differently and worse than “normal people.” Intersectional stigma: is a way of understanding how multiple stigmatised identities affect a person or group. These may be various addictions, health issues or demographic factors (from an ethnic minority, lower-income community, or marginalised sexuality/gender background). Intersectionality exacerbates the effect of certain types of stigma. What has been done to combat stigma? The traditional approach to combatting addiction stigma has been the disease model of addiction. This approach has been traditionally applied to problematic drug and alcohol usage and more recently to gambling harm, with compulsive gambling introduced as a disorder in the DSM. Although the disease model might reduce some aspects of social stigma, it has issues as it fails to consider some of the social factors contributing to gambling harm. Anonymity is a strategy used in treatment, such as Gamblers Anonymous. Anonymous support allows people to talk openly without fear of the stigma of gambling affecting them so deeply and helps people access support, but it is also limited, and may contribute to self-stigma in some people as they perceive themselves as less honest. Emerging ways of combatting stigma As mentioned, one of the ways in which we as individuals and organisations can combat stigma is through utilising person-first language. This can help reduce marginalisation through depersonalisation. Destigmatisation can also come through storytelling and narrative psychology, involving changing the ways in which people suffering from gambling harm are spoken about, as well as contact theory, which posits that intermingling of people affected by gambling harm and those who are not affected will decrease stigmatisation. Contact theory is sometimes considered at odds with anonymity, although there is ample room for both in a plan to reduce stigma. Similar to the disease model is defining compulsive gambling and addictions in general as health problems. The two are not synonymous, however. In addition to increasing understanding of mechanisms of addiction, gambling addictions should also be understood as public health issues. Therefore, the societal conditions which contribute to gambling harm, such as targeted advertising, the minority stress model, and socioeconomic inequality, must be meaningfully addressed. In addition, harm that comes to “moderate” and “low-risk” gamblers must be taken seriously. Empowerment through co-production and creation of services by those who have lived experience of gambling harms is something that can empower people to channel these lived experiences to positive personal and social change. Social change can also be directly campaigned for through formal objection to negative portrayals of those with gambling harm or structural stigma limiting the support given to those with gambling disorders. A method of gaining support from political and social figures is rational compassion – fighting discrimination by appealing to the rational benefits of the desired approach, such as via health economics, as gambling harms cost the economy more than prevention and improved treatment would. Suggestions for tactics that could help to reduce stigma Research and report production to detail the causes and effect of gambling harms Educational outreach programmes for youth Storytelling through various forms of media to increase empathetic understanding and compassion Increasing opportunities for contact between those with gambling disorders and those without which will combat otherisation Direct campaigning against discriminatory policies or media which frames those with gambling addictions in a stigmatising way Social media campaigns dispelling stigma References Dąbrowska, K. and Wieczorek, Ł. (2020) ‘Perceived social stigmatisation of gambling disorders and coping with stigma’, Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 37(3), pp. 279–297. Hing, N., Nuske, E., Gainsbury, S. and Russell, A., 2015. Perceived stigma and self-stigma of problem gambling: perspectives of people with gambling problems. International Gambling Studies, 16(1), pp.31-48. Kelly, J., Saitz, R. and Wakeman, S., 2016. Language, Substance Use Disorders, and Policy: The Need to Reach Consensus on an “Addiction-ary”. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 34(1), pp.116-123. Yang, L., Wong, L., Grivel, M. and Hasin, D., 2017. Stigma and substance use disorders. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 30(5), pp.378-388.

  • BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme

    I was privileged to take part in BBC Radio 4's Money Box. The show included discussion with Matt Gaskell, Clinical Lead at The NHS Northern Gambling Service, Anna Hemmings, CEO of Gamcare, Jack Symons, Gamban and myself and Stacey Goodwin who brought the lived experience perspective to the show. Topics discussed included industry practice, enticements, advertising, support services and recovery. The programme was presented by Charmaine Cozier.

  • 'Gambling Explained' - Gambling Act Review Evidence Submission

    "Harms in affected others challenge the industry in two ways. First, measures to raise awareness and prevent gambling harms in individuals who do not gamble will reduce the appeal of gambling and contribute to its social unacceptability. Second, the 'freedom to gamble' argument is confounded if individuals who do not gamble are harmed." An extract from 'Gambling Explained' (Executive Summary). 'Gambling Explained', among many other things, demonstrates that affected others are significantly harmed and yet often omitted from discussion and consideration, let alone action. We, the authors of this report and submission to the Gambling Act Review, have a combined lived experience of affected other harms of over 25 years. We are particularly pleased to share 'Gambling Explained' as this piece has been written and funded independently. The attached report is a collation of salient scientific evidence and disconcerting comments made by the industry and other stakeholders across ten key topic areas, which are: Chapter 1: Gambling and health Chapter 2: Gambling and addiction Chapter 3: Gambling in children and young people Chapter 4: Gambling and advertising Chapter 5: Gambling research, education, and treatment Chapter 6: Design of gambling products Chapter 7: Gambling and the way it is conducted Chapter 8: Gambling and voluntary bans Chapter 9: Gambling operators as multinational corporations Chapter 10: Gambling and crime In addition to shedding light on critical matters pertaining to the Gambling Act Review, 'Gambling Explained' hopes to validate the significance and role of emerging lived experience voices, particularly those of affected others, in driving change. Charlotte Bradley: "When the opportunity arose for me to be involved in the authorship of this report, I was extremely humbled yet keen to further a rapidly developing evidence base surrounding gambling harms. The overwhelming urge to be involved and seek to uncover the extent of current evidence derives from a personal lived experience of gambling harms. Harms accrued through no direct involvement nor fault of my own. A not too dissimilar set of harms to that experienced by my children, stepchildren, and in-laws, amongst others. All of us harmed, tied by one mutual connection - somebody we love suffering from a gambling disorder. Thankfully, now three years into recovery, our story is one of hope and positivity, yet the past is still a part of us and will be for as long as we live. The extent of harm to which our children have faced is yet to be uncovered. As parents, we try our best to protect our children, the next generation, from being harmed. However, harms that result from gambling disorder are inevitable and can only be prevented by preventing gambling disorder in the first place. We hope 'Gambling Explained' will inspire many others to feel as passionately about this issue as we do. And lastly, to promote and drive positive change, especially for people who are affected by another individual’s gambling disorder." Kishan Patel: "As someone who has experienced gambling-harm continuously from birth, this issue is an extremely pertinent one to me due to its wide-reaching impacts on my life. I have repeatedly struggled with ideas that neither my family members nor I should have existed to suffer in the way that we have. This outlook has been difficult to displace, leading to anxieties such as repeating the same journey as my Dad, who had often described his life as like 'going to hell and back'. Despite the significance of harms on my life and loved ones, my first comprehension of gambling harm only began at the age of 22 while in my 4th year of Medical School under the directive of investigating neglected public health issues. Over the past year, besides learning that my family is not unique in our gambling harm experience, I have also come to realise the extraordinary significance of gambling harm on a population level. Additionally, it has been comforting and yet frustrating to discover public health efforts to combat gambling harm in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; meaningful change is possible in Great Britain. Inspired by 'Tobacco Explained', 'Gambling Explained' culminates our understanding of what is known and what the industry and other stakeholders have said." Note: We do not believe it to be appropriate to use stigmatising language in this space, especially in the pursuit of a public health approach. Hence, we have avoided the term ‘gambler’ and instead used the phrase ‘individuals who gamble’. We also have avoided the use of 'problem gambler’ and instead used the phrase ‘individuals suffering from a gambler disorder’. Full version of Gambling Explained Gambling Explained as a short PowerPoint Deck

  • The Times: Denise Coates Foundation

    It seems that every year we have the same conversations regarding Denise Coates' extortionate salary. However, on this particular anniversary of the draw-dropping figures being released into the public domain, I was asked to give my thoughts on them by The Times newspaper. The full article is behind a paywall which can be accessed by clicking here. My comments are as below: - Kishan Patel, from the gambling harm group TalkGEN, said that the money could be used to fund services to address gambling addiction. "Research, education and treatment into gambling harm has been chronically underfunded for several years now and the Denise Coates Foundation sites on £300 million and [has] never made any donation to reduce or prevent gambling harm," he claimed. "I presume the foundation isn't going to lose that source of income any time soon and this is a huge amount of money that could have been hugely useful during this difficult period for the UK. "The UK is miles behind other countries like New Zealand and Australia in tackling gambling harm. Using a larger chunk of this huge sum could help the UK catch up and avoid more families suffering from the devastating consequences of gambling addiction."

  • Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling: Voice of Awareness

    Earlier today I was delighted to be involved in the 'Voice of Awareness' discussion hosted by Tana Russell and Julie Hynes of the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling. The show was streamed live on both YouTube and Facebook and included follow gambling addiction recovery podcasters Brian Hatch (ALL IN: The Addicted Gambler's Podcast), Jamie Salsburg (The After Gambling Podcast), Brian Ward (Voices...The Podcast) and Tony O'Reilly (The Problem Gambling Podcast). It filled me with immense pride to have been invited to take part in this hour-long production, alongside content creators that I hold in such high-esteem, many of whom I look up to. If you missed the show you can catch-up via the video link below.

  • Aik Saath Workshop

    As news broke yesterday of our new education programme in collaboration with YGAM, Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC and Clearview Research (click here for news item), the Gambling Harm UK team was delivering a remote workshop centering around gambling and gaming harm to young people from Slough-based charity Aik Saath. Who are Aik Saath? The words "Aik Saath" mean "Together As One" in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. They also embody the ethos of the charity. Aik Saath believes in working together for positive social change. Their mission is to work with people from all communities, faiths and backgrounds to promote and encourage conflict resolution and community cohesion through training, campaigns and projects. Purpose The two-hour delivery, inclusive of in-built focus groups, was separate to our collaborative rollout which is due to begin in the coming months. The primary purpose of this session was to both raise awareness and address the issue of gambling harm and to greater understand the service provision gaps from a young ethnic minority persons perspective to help us shape future content, talks and overarching projects. We would like to thank all of the young people for their input into this session. They appeared to be engaged and impassioned on the subject and their consultation and feedback will play a key role for GHUK moving forward.

  • Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities

    A pioneering new education programme has been launched in Greater London and the Home Counties to raise awareness and address the issue of gambling harm disproportionately affecting young people from ethnic minority populations. The ‘Preventing Gambling Harms in Diverse Communities’ initiative has been developed through a unique collaboration between YGAM, Gambling Harm UK (GHUK), Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC and Clearview Research. The prevention programme will deliver free specialist workshops to young people from ethnic minority populations aged 14–24, as well as free training to community and faith leaders. The programme content centres on an understanding of socio-cultural and religious contexts on shame and stigma relating to gambling harms. YouGov Research published in 2020 shows that 1 in 2 adults from ethnic minority backgrounds have gambled in the UK in the last 12 months, and around 1 in 4 of these past-year gamblers suffer significant gambling-related harm. Moreover, a 2019 study by Clearview Research on the young BAME perspective reported that 90% agreed that gambling is seen differently within their ethnic cultures than within white British cultures, and 95% of participants could not identify how they could access help for gambling harm. The three partner organisations have all been established by individuals who have personal lived experience of the harms and impact of gambling addiction. The partners will channel their lived experience and insight into workshops that equip young people with the knowledge to recognise and prevent gambling harm and the confidence to support themselves and others through recovery. GHUK and Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC will work collaboratively to maximise synergies and combine resources to create young person facing educational content, using insight from the YGAM and Clearview Research content co-creation sessions. The content will include culturally-specific gambling-harm awareness short films that cover different areas in the black and Asian communities as well as self-help information and age-appropriate signposting material. Over the two-year pilot, 16,600 young people will be reached directly. Kishan Patel, 5th Year Medical Student at Imperial College and CEO at GHUK said: “In general, young people today are increasingly growing up with finger-tip access and exposure to gambling products and advertisements online. Despite this, the vast majority are not aware of the sudden or insidious but potentially devastating effects of gambling harm. It’s just not talked about enough, especially in schools or GP surgeries, where it is desperately needed. The situation we have now is one where young people are vulnerable to harms from their gambling or a family member’s gambling, but sadly feel unable to access help and support.” Tony Kelly is a former professional footballer and now CEO of Red Card Gambling Support Project CIC. Welcoming the launch of the programme, he said: “We are pleased to be working with YGAM and GHUK on this project, as I believe we share the same goals and vision. This initiative is very much needed as gambling addiction within these hard-to-reach communities is something that is still a taboo subject so it is important we break down that barrier of stigma. I hope to use my professional football career and my story to engage our young target audience on this topic. Coming from a Caribbean background myself, I hope many young people from the community will hear my voice as one they can listen and relate to.” Lee Willows, CEO of YGAM said “We’re proud to be part of this purposeful collaboration with lived experience and diversity at its heart. The project builds on the recommendations from the Clearview Research; ‘Gambling: The young BAME perspective’, commissioned by GambleAware in 2019. YGAM will take the lead on the training of community and faith leaders who once trained will deliver the programme to young people. Over the two-year pilot, YGAM will aim to train 323 practitioners, who will in turn reach 18,050 young people in their care. With the talent, specialist insight and commitment from all partner organisations, I am confident that collectively we’ll deliver some helpful perspectives on how to engage with minority communities, contributing to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.” The programme will seek formal assured status from City & Guilds. Clearview Research have been appointed to lead the creation of a Theory of Change model for the programme and will act as independent evaluation partners. Clearview Research also worked with YGAM in 2020 to undertake a comprehensive BAME Audit, working with the charity to co-create content specifically aimed at minority communities. The initiative has received funding from the Gambling Commission regulatory settlements and will contribute to the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, specifically within the Prevention and Education priority area. In addition, a prominent Advisory Group will be established to examine the stigma of gambling harms in these communities. The programme will be recruiting members to this group in the coming weeks. If you are interested in finding out more about the programme and the free workshops available then please contact

  • 1000 Days Sober Podcast - Getting Over A Gambling Addiction

    Having lived experience of both gambling-harm and alcoholism I occasionally get invited to talk about either or both. So when Lee Davy, host of the 1000 Days Sober podcast got in touch I obviously thought he wanted to talk about alcohol.....wrong! Yes, we did talk about my history with alcohol briefly but Lee wanted to discuss gambling harm and my recovery. Turns out Lee has had his own issues with gambling and I must say recording this podcast was an absolute blast. Here is a link to the show notes; a special workbook dedicated to my podcast episode: Getting Over a Gambling Addiction with Chris Gilham ( To check out the full episode follow this link: 1000 Days Sober Podcast - Getting Over a Gambling Addiction with Chris Gilham | Free Listening on Podbean App

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