ICE Countdown: Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators

YGAM were delighted to be invited to speak at the recent London Conference on Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators thanks to Paula Pusey and Matthew Holley from KnowNow. This was a wonderful event hearing from the industry on the topical concerns and challenges of the day but also how do we think and better understand those challenges of the future. My reflections on the event led me to think about two key learning points which I want to share with you and what we will do next with ICE 2018 on the horizon where YGAM is proudly making its debut as the Clarion official charity partner and supported by the Gambling Business Group.

There is a strong appetite for preventative education
It is so pleasing to hear so many people from within the gambling industry and those external to the industry recognising there is a greater need for high quality preventative education to minimise gambling or gaming-related harm, especially among young and vulnerable people.

At the KnowNow London conference Adrian Sladdin, our Director of Education and I were able to speak of the work of YGAM and how we have been championing this education for the past three years. Proudly we could talk about some of the gambling operators whom have really got behind YGAM and are supporting our charity to deliver this. Corporate Social Responsibility is all about business giving back to their local communities through donations, employee volunteering or sponsorship and is a proven vehicle for fundraising to Britain’s charitable sector today. YGAM took a strategic decision to work with the gambling sector specifically as one of our stakeholders as we believe the sector are keen to help and it is wholly appropriate that profits which are derived from gambling are reinvested in to Research, Education and Treatment (RET).

We are huge advocates for quality, demonstrating social impact & exemplar governance and independent evaluation; the values for any well-governed charity. YGAM aims to epitomise these values and we are known for rolling our sleeves up and getting on with the job. We do not know all the answers when it comes to the delivery of education to minimise gambling or gaming-related harm, but we are working hard to understand and through weekly delivery of activities we are learning a lot. Nothing substitutes ‘getting on with the job’. Our learning is further strengthened when working with our quality partners such as the PSHE Association; Awarding Bodies ASDAN and Pearson; and academic partners City, University of London and the University of East London who have evaluated / continue to evaluate what we do. YGAM contributes significantly to the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB), National Responsible Gambling Strategy, Priority Action Eight: Education to minimise gambling-related harm. We remain keen to work with all stakeholders to capture YGAM’s social impact in this Priority Action.

As readers of my regular posts on LinkedIn will know YGAM are at an interesting juncture on our path as a start-up. We need to preserve the authenticity that everybody loves and absolutely maintain our high quality, but we do need to scale to realise our ambition. I do sense some growing pains ahead but feel assured that our growth is from a current position of absolute quality, independent evaluation, a huge amount of gained insight and with an exemplar governance in place. Our growth will be organic, well managed and impactful.

We have a brilliant team in place at YGAM and I am looking to the gambling and gaming industry to support us with our growth. We need to bring in specialist staff to help us increase our social reach and at ICE 2018, we’d be keen to speak to operators specifically on how we might collaborate and co create. Cash is king in any start-up and uniquely YGAM isn’t seeking just donations, (although these would of course be welcome), we want to help the industry develop first class training and apprenticeships, which is my second take away from the Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators conference.

There is a strong appetite for innovative industry training
Innovate industry training – is there such a thing?

What I have learnt is that while every operator is delivering training, some delivering it very well, however many operators see their training very much their unique intellectual property and there is limited appetite to collaborate, share knowledge and come together ‘as one’. Everybody is seeking the answer to how can we reduce gambling related harm, comply with the regulatory environment and evidence training.

Anybody working in a security role in the United Kingdom needs a SIA License; anybody working on a building site in the United Kingdom needs a CSCS card. There is no national standard for those who work in the gambling industry in the United Kingdom. Employees who work in key positions in businesses that operate gambling need a Personal Management License (PML), but is that enough, why not every employee?

Would it be possible to create this level of licensing or qualification for every employee, well I believe this is something we should consider working towards?

The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board’s, National Responsible Gambling Strategy has a specific Priority Action (specifically Priority Action Six) around Piloting Innovations and, if there was appetite, this could really evolve your current employee training and potentially help raise the public perception of the industry. What would be even better is if this training could be delivered in a bespoke way, to each operator, dovetailing your current training so you do not lose your intellectual property or business / sector specifics; wrapping it around a formal qualification from Pearson (formerly Edexcel) – the leading, Ofqual approved global awarding body and finally by engaging with this training, you are also making a financial contribution to work of a charity such as YGAM whilst crucially, investing in your skilled and talented workforce.

In June 2017, RGSB published its first annual assessment of progress with the National Responsible Gambling Strategy and Priority Action Six was Red flagged due to limited progress. Colleagues that know me, know I am keen to help and contribute and I am passionate and committed to training and education as one vehicle to minimise harm. The revenue generated through our commercial training with yourselves, by YGAM’s trading subsidiary (YGAM Innovation Limited) would generate a small profit. 100% of this profit would then be donated back to YGAM. This social investment model is demonstrated further as the sole shareholder for YGAM Innovation Limited is YGAM the charity itself.

This model I am describing is possible right now and with prices from as little as £160 per colleague (plus set up and Pearson certificate costs). Why not come and visit YGAM on at ICE 2018 on stand CPZ4 to learn more and chat with our team about why working with YGAM has the potential to deliver social value to you and the potentially the wider industry as a whole.

Lee Willows
Chief Executive
Young Gamblers Education Trust