YGAM Calls For Inclusive Player Involvement
Social charity and education-focused organisation the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) has called on a more inclusive approach being followed whenever initiatives are staged for the purpose of gaining user-focused experiences of gaming- and gambling-related harm. This, said the organisation, will ensure that the process of developing safeguards, takes into account a much broader collective voice when formulating new regulations.
Up until now, only those that have suffered actual harm have been invited to participate in the experience-sharing processes. The process typically involves inviting groups of people with “lived experience” of a service or industry or product to provide input into the development of improved safeguards and public policies. Within the context of the gambling industry, those who have in the past suffered actual harm from gambling services and products, would traditionally have been the only ones to have a say in the formulation of future regulations and policies.
Healthy Players Are The Majority
An example of how this is practically applied is that of the Gambling Commission’s so-called “experts by experience” initiative. By drawing on the lived experience of those personally affected by gambling harm, the group has in the past provided valuable insight into decisions related to everything from responsible stake limits, to responsible marketing and game design.
But by involving more people than those who happen to have lived a negative experience in the process, says YGAM CEO and co-founder Lee Willows, a much broader – and hopefully more accurate - picture can be formed leading up to the actual decision-making processes.
A “chorus” of different voices, said Willows, and one representative of the wider player spectrum, will provide insight not only into the lives and journeys of those who experience gambling as harmful as potentially addictive, but also into the dynamics and realities of those players who gamble without ever experiencing any problem or addictive behaviour. And since these players make up the majority, it only makes sense to include their voices too when looking to make important decisions.
Finding The Balance
If it can be accepted that most people who gamble do so completely within their means, and without ever experiencing as much as a single negative consequence, said Willows, then it is “surely” important to include non-problem-gamblers in experience-based conversations. Both sides of the conversation are useful in equal measure, concluded Willows.
Even so, says Anne Evans, who is another YGAM founder, those efforts aimed at addressing and reducing gambling-related harms, are despite the fact that there exists no perfect solution, moving in the right direction.