Justice for Punters (J4P) is delighted to announce the launch of two new gambling dispute self-help guides (https://justiceforpunters.org/gambling-disputes-2021/).
This is a major piece of work, which reflects 6-7 years of our voluntary work. J4P hopes both guides are useful. They will hopefully enable people to understand their rights, thus helping them to fight for justice.
This is a major change in what J4P will offer moving forward. We will no longer offer personal 1-1 support for dispute cases. People already in the system will continue to be supported 1-1, but all new cases will be pointed towards the new self-help guides, and by definition, people will be able to choose whether to use the self-help guides alone or seek support from all the other organisations mentioned in them (from charities to lawyers, all with paid staff).
Truthfully, J4P had hoped by now, that ‘people with power’ would have recognised the importance of transparency, fairness and the significance of finance for the recovery of those with a gambling disorder. They haven’t, and it’s time for them to deal with all the late night and early morning emails from desperate people.
What J4P has been doing isn’t a job for volunteers really; it requires a specialist well paid team, not just to deal with the unfairness of not being paid if you win, but the dangerous company practices that continue to cause harm long after a person has stopped gambling.
J4P has seen legal threats, yes legal threats, sent to those who are vulnerable. In addition there is a continual refusal to provide accurate data to people in dispute, with no appropriate action taken by the UK’s information regulator. Then there are others who’ve been ‘robbed’, because the UK’s gambling regulator appears not to have understood the nature of ‘gambling products’, e.g. Football Index.
Many ‘with power’ appear to lack the motivation to grasp the real ‘nettles’ due to an obsession with light-touch regulation. Yes, there have been improvements, but you have to deal with cases directly to get a real insight into how a huge industry acts and how it is regulated. After hundreds of cases, J4P can tell you, it’s not pretty. For those gambling companies who wish to do better, there is little incentive.
As any professional setup should, J4P has operated confidentially, which means most of the details of our case work remain between the people we’ve helped and gambling companies. Despite this, government departments and regulators are well aware of what has been happening and where change is needed.
In theory, the Gambling Act review should address J4P’s experience, but we’ve come to doubt it. The discourse has become very selfish and somewhat child-like, with few being willing to admit why we are where we are. There is also the massive issue of most commentators never mentioning solutions and/or just appearing to push industry narratives, which have usually been proposed by highly paid lobbyists. You know who J4P is talking about.
J4P would be delighted if staff in other organisations wanted to help their clients to use the self-help guides and navigate all the processes explained. In fact, J4P will provide free training for staff (no we haven’t received a 500K grant, but we’ll still do it for free).
The J4P 1-1 case journey has been interesting, but very bumpy. The worst ‘bump in the road’ being when Paul Fairhead, very sadly, died too young. We all miss him immensely. The new guides are something he would have welcomed. Here’s another reminder of where on the J4P website you can find the guides: https://justiceforpunters.org/gambling-disputes-2021/
J4P isn’t going away, we’re just changing what we do, because we believe it is time for others, some of whom are very well paid, to step-up and ensure gambling in the UK is as fair and as safe as possible.