This pilot study is a collaboration between researchers at the University of East London and the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM). The aims of this research work were to evaluate the efficacy of a short training programme in enabling betting shop managers to better support their customers, minimise harm and identify signs of problem gambling. The training programme has been devised by YGAM, a charity which aims to educate younger people about the harms of gambling. The development of training for betting shop employees represents a new venture for YGAM, which they hope will be adopted within the betting/gaming industry to reduce, manage and identify harm.
This UEL led evaluation work consisted of measuring baseline awareness and understanding (of the core domains of customer care and support, harm minimisation and problem gambling) in individuals attending the YGAM training programme, and collecting basic demographic details. Subsequent data was collected throughout the training; with plans for a 3 month follow up assessment. In addition to the questionnaire data, we hope to have access to more objective data taken from the Ladbrokes Coral (the employer of all the trainees on the programme) database, summarising incident and interaction reports from each of the betting shops in which the trainees currently work. This data will consist of the records of staff interactions with customers, for the 3-6 month period prior to the training and for the subsequent 3 months. We may also be able to review data of this kind from betting shops where no staff have undertaken the training. Such data will enable a fuller evaluation of the real world impact of the training.
The final data set will provide information which can be explored to look for potential improvements in the core domains of customer care and support, harm minimisation/management, and identification of problem gambling. The demographic information will be used to explore the degree to which factors such as age, gender, years working within the profession etc., may affect outcomes. The analyses conducted at UEL will enable YGAM to fully review their training programme; to assess overall efficacy and to identify areas that are highly effective and those which may need improvement/change.
In addition to assisting the work of the charity YGAM, this work will more broadly add to knowledge about the utility of training in this context. The establishment of effective education and awareness raising through training of industry staff, would significantly benefit individuals with problems, and could substantially reduce costs to the industry, healthcare and law enforcement agencies; as well as potentially informing policy.
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