Gambling charities and services GamCare, Gamban, and Gamstop have partnered to launch brand new responsible gambling campaign TalkBanStop.
The three organisations announced this week announced the launch of TalkBanStop, a 12-month pilot scheme which will run from December 17 and promote the benefits of using free support and tools to help gambling addiction.
According to SBCNews, the TalkBanStop pilot, which consists of three free tools designed to help people manage their gambling behaviour, aims to help people suffering from gambling-related harm this Christmas and into 2021.
The campaign is comprised of three main steps linked to the three tools. They include “Talk” which is done by contacting GamCare’s National Gambling Helpline, “Ban” which is covered by Gamban’s gambling blocking software, and “Stop” which can be done through Gamstop’s self-exclusion scheme. All of the services can be accessed through the TalkBanStop website.
The launch of the TalkBanStop campaign coincides with the release of a short film starring former footballer Michael Chopra as he speaks with Chris Gilham about their experiences of gambling addiction and their recovery.
During the film, Chopra explains how his former manager Roy Keane encouraged him to reach out for professional support, saying: “I never ever let anything get in the way of my football but as soon as the whistle went, my mind just suddenly changed and all of a sudden I was thinking about gambling.
“Then I decided to speak to Roy Keane, he was brilliant. He really took his time to speak to me and took time out of training. It was Roy that really got me the help that I needed.”
He added: “There is light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re going through a dark phase, you don’t think that. If you’re struggling like I was and need support, head to TalkBanStop.com.”
Gilham also spoke about his experience, saying: “It wasn’t until my mum said to me ‘he’s ready’ and that it really struck me as she knew I was ready. Until I was ready, it wasn’t going to change.
“I was then able to tell my wife that I needed help and that was going to change. That was over three years ago and I haven’t gambled since that day.”
In a statement, GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings said of the campaign: “After a particularly challenging year when many have been implemented by job losses and reduced income, Christmas can be a difficult time for those struggling to stop gambling.
“The TalkBanStop campaign sends a message of hope to those who are struggling with gambling but don’t know how to start their recovery journey, by providing free tools and support that give breathing space to reflect on what’s going on. The first step is simply talking to someone.”
She continued: “There is support out there to help you make empowered choices about your recovery, and we urge anyone suffering in silence to be inspired by Michael and Chris. They show it can happen to anyone, but if they get through it, so can you.”
Neil McArthur, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, added: “Christmas can be a challenging time for those experiencing gambling-related harm so we are particularly pleased with this collaborative approach to offer joined-up and comprehensive services to consumers.
“We are also happy to approve funding of the blocking software pilot and evaluation element of this work through the distribution of regulatory settlement money to properly identify what works.”
The launch of the campaign comes at a time of increased concern regarding gambling behaviour and gambling-related problems due to an increase in the number of people gambling online as a result of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions.
YGAM Charity Announces First Ambassador
The launch of the TalkBanStop campaign comes as the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) charity announce former England Under-21 footballer Marvin Sordell as their first ambassador.
According to CasinoBeats, the former footballer will support the charity on a voluntary basis and provide valuable insight to help inform the organisation’s education programmes with a particular focus on mental health.
Sordell had previously played for several big-name football teams but retired from the sport last year at the age of 28 due to concerns over his mental wellbeing. Since then, Sordell has worked to raise awareness of mental health issues in football and has helped launch and support a number of businesses and charities.
Speaking about his voluntary role in supporting YGAM, Sordell said: “I’m delighted to become an ambassador for YGAM. This is a fantastic charity led by some inspirational people in Lee, Anne, and Keith.
“I joined the YGAM away day a few months ago and I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of everyone that works to deliver their education programmes.”
He continued: “It’s amazing to see teachers, parents, youth workers and people with lived experience come together to safeguard future generations. It is very pleasing to see education around mental health form such a pivotal part of their resources.
“I’ve also been really impressed with their collaborations with football club community trusts and I’m looking forward to supporting their great work.”
Lee Willows, the Chief Executive of YGAM, added: “This is another proud moment for the whole YGAM team. Marvin is an inspiration to many of us and he has done more to raise awareness of mental health than any other footballer.
“Lived experience is at the heart of everything we do, and Marvin brings a very authentic perspective to our work around mental health.
“His superb career in professional football followed by his inspiring work since retiring means Marvin also brings an admirable network that will benefit the charity enormously as we continue to grow our reach and impact in several new areas.”
He finished by saying:”The YGAM team have been so impressed with Marvin and we are all very excited to be working with him. I can’t think of [a] better person to become our first-ever ambassador, and I’m delighted.”