The Young Gamblers Education Trust has come under scrutiny as some of their Trustees have ties within the gambling industry, and they also receive funds from gambling companies.
As a freelance writer, I have a pet hate.
When I worked for PokerNews at European Poker Tour (EPT) events, I had to steer clear of mentioning the World Poker Tour (WPT) or World Series of Poker (WSOP), and when working for the WPT, I had to steer clear of mentioning the EPT and WSOP.
It’s my pet hate because it runs counter to my values. Authenticity is important to me. I need to be able to speak my mind. I want to share my opinion. And that becomes impossible if your views run counter to those of the hand that feeds you.
And The Guardian recently poked and prodded around the guts of this issue with a look into the management of the Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).
Lee Willows once stole £20,000 from his employer, Trailblazers so that he could fund his gambling addiction. They caught him, and a suspended sentence was his prize.
Over time Willows got clean and founded YGAM as a private company aimed at providing education on gambling to youngsters. Earlier this year YGAM achieved charitable status.
The Guardian got involved after it became apparent that some of YGAM’s Chair of Trustees have ties within the gambling industry and that some of the highest profile gambling companies in the world are also some of the charities biggest donators.
The company website shows Dan Waugh as a trustee and according to The Guardian, he is a partner at a gambling consultancy firm. Dan Rough is another trustee despite being the founder of an online scratchcard firm. The Guardian also stated that money flowed into the YGAM coffers from the likes of the Gala Group, Bet365, and Caesars Entertainment.
It’s certainly an interesting case study. All of the gambling firms mentioned above have taken on the responsibility of doing what they can to manage ‘problem gambling’ and what better way to do this than to provide funds to a charity that helps educate people on ‘problem gambling’ issues?
The Charity Commission has received complaints about these interesting ties, but they have cleared YGAM of any wrongdoing, and I can see why. I don’t think it’s sensible to have people who work in the gambling industry as a member of your Board of Trustees, but accepting money from gambling companies to be used to combat ‘problem gambling’ seems par for the course.
The charity believes that without the support it currently receives from all sources it would not be able to impact the lives it does.
YGAM runs Train the Trainer type workshops for people who work with the young so that they can educate them on the dangers of ‘problem gambling’ with over 50 lesson plans currently available.
What’s your view on a charity designed to inform youngsters about the perils of ‘problem gambling’ having a relationship with members of the gambling community?