I’d like to wish you all a very belated but nonetheless happy new year. It feels like a very long time ago now, but I hope you had a relaxing Christmas break.
It’s been a while since my last update and there’s quite a bit to cover, so I’ll dive straight in.
On February 21, the inquest into the death of our son Jack begins in Sheffield, scheduled to end on March 4. The inquest will look into the role gambling played in Jack’s death and examine the failings of the state to protect his life under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. I will of course update you all in due course.
I’m pleased to report that The Big Step campaign continues to gather momentum, with 18 football clubs now in support. The campaign is heading to Scotland this week for their latest event. Over 40 walkers will be braving the cold and walking 60 miles from Edinburgh to Glasgow this Friday to Sunday. They'll be joined by MPs, MSPs and fan groups. If you’re up that way and would like to join, then please click on the image below to find out how to do so, or, if you'd like to – and are able to – support from afar and buy the walkers a much-needed (and appreciated!) warm drink, simply follow this link.
Sticking with The Big Step, last month, Drogheda United, who play in the League of Ireland Premier Division, became the first top-flight club to back the campaign. The announcement got plenty of media attention, with the club’s chairman, Conor Hoey, giving several powerful interviews about football’s harmful relationship with gambling. You can read more here and here.
Over Christmas our education programme – currently being piloted in schools in Northern Ireland and England – featured across many BBC programmes, including BBC Breakfast (see below), BBC News, Radio 4 and online. It featured our Barry Fennell delivering an education session in Northern Ireland, as well as Pete and Sadie Keogh, who lost their son Lewis to gambling-related suicide in 2013. They spoke powerfully about their own experience and the need for children to be educated about the dangers of gambling addiction. There was even a podcast.
Pete and Sadie Keogh on BBC Breakfast, December 29th 2021
You may have seen the disappointing news that the Gambling Act whitepaper may now be delayed until May. Liz gave a very strong quote in this Guardian article articulating GwL’s position on the delay. The whitepaper was originally due to be published before Christmas last year – along with other campaigners we will be keeping up the pressure on the government to get the paper published and to get real change to actually happen.
We also recommend that you have a read of Dr James Noyes’ insightful piece about the misleading tactics that the Betting and Gaming Council are using, hiding their harmful practices behind erroneous notions of freedom.
We’ve been working hard on the new-look GwL website, which is going live in the coming weeks, so do keep an eye out for that.
One last thing: on March 8th, we’ll be heading to London for the Gambling Reform rally, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling-Related Harm and Peers for Gambling Reform. If you can, please do join. You can register by clicking the image below.
As you can see, lots coming up! That’s it from me for now though.