The ALLIANCE Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm programme review activities in 2020

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 18th January 2021

We engaged with people who have experience of gambling harm, set up a Lived Experience Forum, and created a series of case studies.

The ALLIANCE Scotland Reducing Gambling Harm programme aims to put the voice of people affected by gambling harms at the heart of action to reduce those harms. The programme was established in February 2020 and over the course of the last year has been engaging people with lived experience of gambling harm to identify policy priorities and accelerate the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms (this link will take you away from our website).

Gambling can cause significant harm to people; including relationship breakdown; money problems; stress and anxiety; and in some extreme circumstances, suicide. For every person that experiences problems with gambling, on average six other people in their lives will be negatively affected.

“It was all-consuming. There were days I would bet on every horse race in Britain then follow it up with a punt on an obscure overnight football match, thousands of miles away. Not so enjoyable. Gambling at that frenzied pace affected my mood and relationships, caused stress, anxiety and debt. It got to the stage where I daren’t look at my bank statements. Ironically, my salvation finally came because somebody else did just that.”

A key milestone for the programme so far has been the launch of the Lived Experience Forum, which will identify key actions and priorities to reduce gambling harm in Scotland. The work leading up to the launch has involved a number of events, and several priorities are emerging; especially the need for more treatment and support for people experiencing gambling harm, the need to reduce the level of gambling advertising, and the need to raise awareness of gambling harm amongst key groups such as GPs and Debt Advisors.

The programme has also gathered a series of print and video (this link will take you away from our website) case studies of people’s experiences of gambling harm. These case studies have been used by ALLIANCE members and others to start conversations about gambling harm with the people they support and in communities.

In addition, the programme is establishing a PhD on engaging people with lived experience on gambling, especially focused on seldom heard groups. The programme has also supported Public Health Scotland to identify priorities to reduce gambling harm in Glasgow and has worked closely with COPE Scotland to engage people on the issue and better understand what support is available to people.

Reports of other ALLIANCE programme activities during 2020 can be found in our News section.

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