YGAM are delighted to announce that Will Ridley has been appointed to the voluntary position of Chair of the Young People and Student Advisory Group at Young Gamblers Education Trust at YGAM.

YGAM are delighted to announce that Will Ridley has been appointed to the voluntary position of Chair of the Young People and Student Advisory Group at Young Gamblers Education Trust at YGAM. Will says, “I’m chuffed to have joined forces with the charity to lead the establishment and work of the group which will help to put young people at the heart of safer gambling debate in the UK along with building on the great work of the charity whose purpose is to ‘inform, educate and safeguard young people against problematic gambling and social gaming’.

The Gambling Commission last year found two million people in the UK are either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction. The commission also found that 143,000 young people aged 12-24 years-old are experiencing gambling-related harm.

Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM says ‘‘Following a formal interview with myself and Mike Wojcik, one of our Trustees and Chair of our People & Transformation Committee we are delighted that Will has agreed to contribute to the future journey of YGAM. Will’s role as Chair of YGAM’s Young People & Student Advisory Group is strategically important as this cohort are often cited as the ‘most at risk’ of gambling related-harm, but their voice is often missing. Will brings unique insight from both the gambling industry and from his time as an elected Student Union President at Teesside University where he represented over 18,000 students and ran various student-led campaigns.

As stark as some of the statistics are there is a lot of positive action going on in the industry, including the launch of GamStop that the industry is rolling out to help those online gamblers who may be experiencing harm. The service allows people to sign up and block themselves from betting websites for up to 5 years, this process known in the industry as ‘self-exclusion’. This is one way that operators are working together to help create a safer and more sustainable industry.

Will goes on to say “I’ve been lucky enough to work on Sky Bet’s Responsible Gambling campaign which has seen an industry first by putting the important Senet Group message ‘When the fun stops, stop’ message front and centre of a TV advert fronted by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling. We’ve also advertised the self-help tools more than ever before and invested £1m as part of our existing deal with the English Football League (EFL) to educate all EFL clubs about responsible gambling and conducting awareness programmes including responsible gambling logos on the sleeves of club’s shirt from the start of next season. As proud as I am of some of the work that is going on, I know there is a long way to go and a lot of work to do. I’m looking forward to forming the Young People and Student Advisory group to help YGAM’s social purpose and get young people at the heart of the debate in the UK.

Young people of today have smart phones and multiple social media accounts which means more access to a wide range of social games which are only ever going to develop further. We need to work together with betting and gaming industries to ensure there is awareness of the dangers of addiction and problem gambling, to improve developments of these types of games and products, along with education and awareness programmes to prevent gambling and gaming becoming a problem.

Gambling and gaming should only ever be for enjoyment and at spending levels that are only equivalent to what people can afford. I will be sharing updates on progress of the group as we recruit members and debate the key issues around safer gambling and gaming in the United Kingdom.

If you are under 25 years and keen to volunteer and become involved in this important work, details on how to apply to join the Advisory Group will be published in July.