This evening will be the last time that our current platform will be active as we seek a new direction.  When I launched Gamvisory back in January of this year, it wasn’t a pre-planned event, it was a knee-jerk event at the despise I had for how people with ‘Lived Experience’ or ‘Experts by Experience’ (EbEs) were treated.  My intention was to build a platform whereby we could be collectively listened to.  Shortly after this, the CV19 virus struck so the focus was squarely on utilising our skills to get a voice at the table.

We achieved this, we were heard and most importantly, we were listened to.  Danny Cheatham’s work with Monzo was so very important as well as having an input into the British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) warning as to how the lockdown was inevitably going to result in increased disordered gambling, which it clearly did (see publications).  Nick Phillips appeared so honestly on various media platforms and is now one of the most respected and listened voices out there.  With the initial input from Becky Jones, James Grimes and @gamblinginsights, we did our bit.  Between us all we have helped many sufferers that have come to us for advice and support and we all continue to do this. The blogs from those that contributed were some of our highlights, so a big thanks to all that pitched in.

The new direction we are now heading into is to continue to provide the help to those suffering, often in silence.  We intend to deal with this on a more wider scale by ensuring the correct treatment is given to those sufferers and by giving them an online self-help portal to really focus on what can be done to stop their disordered gambling.  We will do this by working with the NHS and forward-thinking companies and organisations that wish to utilise us.  

I was really disheartened to still learn that at GP level, there is such a lack of awareness of disordered gambling and a lack of signposting them to the NHS clinics.  I cannot sit by and allow sufferers that open up to get support, most likely when they are at their rock-bottoms and at heightened risk of suicide, to continue not to be treated properly any longer.

Whilst you may notice that the self-help portal on the new website is not accessible, rest assured those that need to utilise it will have the access to it.  Additionally, I intend to work with businesses and organisations to raise awareness of disordered gambling and to continue to chip away at the shame, stigma and guilt they will feel.  The suicide rate for disordered gamblers is disgustingly high and needs action today.  I very much hope the government will be immediately announcing their review into The Gambling Act, because lives are literally being lost every day it’s delayed. 

I will also be continuing my work into ensuring that sufferers of disordered gambling that have turned to crime are treated with humility.  Having worked with Tom Eaton and another, I have seen first-hand how there has been no support afforded to them whatsoever, whilst they wait so long for their court dates and clearly being at high risk of suicide.  I very much hope to make some great progress in this area which I’ll update upon soon.

Danny continues to be busy whilst excelling in his current job and we’ll always have a good relationship going forward.  I’ll never forget the powerful experience we shared the first time we met, giving evidence at The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) into gambling harm.  Nick has had some tough times to deal with but his resilience is remarkable.  He’s going to make a Grade A student his studies and I will support him whilst he studies and embarks on his new venture, ‘The Gambling Guardian’ which, in time, is going to be such a valuable service.

For all those that supported us, thank you very much.  Your support formulated our drive to make things better.  For those that didn’t share in what we did, we wish you well with your agendas and your journeys.  

Time to get busy,

Alex