If you’re not balanced you’ll fall over

In an email on Friday from somebody who works for a major gambling company I was asked if I’d watched the full video featuring Wayne Rooney about safer gambling (sponsored by 32Red): I hadn’t, but I have now.  What follows is a personal view.

This type of awareness raising should and can be really useful, however doing it comes with a lot of responsibility (that word again).  It’s impossible to ‘suit all of the people, all of the time’, so I might be criticised for saying that I found the video easy to watch and that it contains some good observations and tips. It’s also important to remember how many people will watch it purely because Wayne Rooney features.

Responsibility is a big word in gambling circles and it involves all parties, but it’s continually used in the context of the person who gambles, which isn’t and never will be the full story.  I’m not going to cover industry responsibilities again, because I’m commenting on a particular short video.  The video producers have a responsibility (that word again) though for their video, especially as it will be watched by so many, so that is my focus.

Attention to detail is a responsibility (that word again) that should never be taken lightly.

A lot of people with a gambling disorder I’ve communicated with dislike the term ‘problem gambler’ immensely, so why does this term feature twice in the first 30 seconds of this video?   Who discussed this choice of words?  Were others with a lived experience of gambling disorder consulted?  I can hear the cries of ‘snowflake’, but believe me words DO matter to many of those having difficulties that lots of us never have to face.  Perhaps, take a little time to reflect on how language has developed in many areas of health and social care, and you’ll appreciate why words are important.  Maybe think of children with certain health conditions, and how language and communication in general has developed surrounding those conditions, e.g. cerebral palsy and others.

Why was Wayne Rooney wearing 32Red branding?  Were the ‘pros and cons’ of this discussed before filming?  There have been and are plenty of other opportunities for 32Red/Rooney branding, it doesn’t have to be ‘wall to wall’.  Some topics and ‘messages’ are best without branding.

Whilst I wouldn’t expect 32Red to make a video criticising gambling industry practices the emphasis of this video was clearly on what the ‘customer’ could do to take their responsibilities. Surely there could have been 30 seconds to cover how 32Red are going to improve their monitoring of and communication with ‘at risk’ customers, e.g. their responsibilities?

What are my conclusions?  Thank you for making the video.  Many will see it, so there will be good awareness raising.  It contains some good messages, but please take care with important detail, so you avoid upsetting others facing similar challenges.  Finally, regarding ‘messages’ please do remember “If you’re not balanced you’ll fall over.”  The gambling industry must be portrayed as having responsibilities just like their customers or that balance is lost.


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