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GambleAware CEO Defends Charity Amid Conflict of Interest Allegations



GambleAware CEO Defends Charity Amid Conflict of Interest Allegations

Defending a Crucial Charity

Imagine a lifeline for those struggling with gambling addiction coming under fire just as it strives to expand its reach.

GambleAware, a key player in combating gambling harm in the UK, faces scrutiny over its ties to the gambling industry.

Understanding the truth behind these allegations and the potential impact on those in need is crucial for preserving vital support services.

Dive into the details of this controversy and learn how GambleAware plans to defend its mission and integrity.


GambleAware CEO Defends Charity Amid Conflict of Interest Allegations

GambleAware, a prominent UK charity dedicated to reducing gambling harms, has recently come under the spotlight due to allegations of conflict of interest. The Charity Commission has launched an investigation following a complaint by the Good Law Project, which claims that GambleAware’s reliance on voluntary industry funding compromises its effectiveness and independence.

The Allegations

The complaint, filed in March, asserts that GambleAware’s trustees have failed to fulfill the charity’s objectives, particularly in providing unbiased information on gambling harm. It accuses the charity of perpetuating the narrative that gambling issues are primarily a problem for individuals rather than a systemic issue within the industry. The Good Law Project stated:

“The Charity Commission must take action and investigate whether GambleAware is breaking charity law by failing in their duties to provide unbiased information – accepting the false narrative that gambling is a problem for individuals instead of a problem with the industry. And we’re preparing to take legal action if they refuse.”

GambleAware’s Defense

Zoë Osmond, GambleAware’s CEO, has robustly defended the charity, emphasizing its independence and adherence to governance practices that prevent industry influence. Osmond highlighted that the charity’s operations are widely recognized as independent by various stakeholders, including the Government, as reflected in the Gambling White Paper.


Osmond stated:

“Our robust governance and commissioning practices ensure that the industry has no influence over our operations. GambleAware’s independence has been widely recognised by a range of stakeholders including the Government, as evidenced in the Gambling White Paper. The complaint lodged to the Charity Commission by the Good Law Project is based on misleading and outdated information. While we are confident that this complaint will not be upheld, we are deeply concerned that inaccurate headlines and misleading newspaper articles may have a damaging impact on our services and the people that rely on them.”

The Potential Impact on Users

Osmond raised concerns that the complaint and the ensuing negative publicity could dissuade individuals from seeking help through GambleAware’s services. She emphasized the importance of maintaining the charity’s credibility to ensure that those in need are not deterred from accessing support.

“The deeply stigmatised nature of gambling harms often makes it difficult for individuals to reach out for help. Maintaining the credibility and reputation of essential support services is crucial to reaching people before their gambling issues become catastrophic. Undermining these services, and the dedicated workers and experts who operate them, risks not only those directly relying on them but also the many indirectly affected by a loved one’s gambling problems.”


Positive Outcomes of GambleAware’s Efforts

Osmond pointed to the success of the National Gambling Support Network, noting that nine out of ten vulnerable players who complete treatment see an improvement. She highlighted that 69 per cent of those who do not see an improvement failed to complete their treatment, underscoring the efficacy of the support services provided when fully engaged.

The Good Law Project’s Position

The Good Law Project, led by public policy expert Will Prochaska, former strategic director of Gambling with Lives (GWL), remains critical of GambleAware’s reliance on industry funding. They argue that this dependence inherently compromises the charity’s ability to act independently and effectively against gambling harms.

Historical Concerns Over Industry-Backed Charities

This is not the first time a gambling-industry-backed charity has faced scrutiny. In 2021, the Charity Commission ruled that there was no conflict of interest after investigating the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) over its links to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). These recurring concerns highlight ongoing debates about the relationship between the gambling industry and charitable organizations meant to mitigate its harms.

Moving Forward: Ensuring Integrity and Effectiveness

In light of these allegations, it is crucial for GambleAware to continue demonstrating its independence and the effectiveness of its governance structures. This includes transparent reporting, independent audits, and ongoing engagement with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that its operations remain free from undue influence.


Conclusion: Upholding Trust and Support

The controversy surrounding GambleAware underscores the importance of trust in charitable organizations, particularly those addressing sensitive issues like gambling harm. As the investigation by the Charity Commission proceeds, it is vital to focus on the charity’s mission and the impact of its work on those in need. Ensuring transparency and independence will be key to maintaining public confidence and the effectiveness of support services for gambling harm.

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