Young people sent their messages to gambling firms, government, sports organisations and broadcasters at a special forum in Cardiff.
The Recovery Trust joined a large audience of teenagers as they shared their experiences of gambling – and learned more about the harms from academics, experts and people with lived experience of addiction.
The school pupils said they would like to see limitations on advertising, tobacco-style health warnings and age-restrictions for gambling services, and more intervention to help vulnerable people manage their money effectively.
Watch the event video
Speakers at the Pierhead included Gaelic football star Niall McNamee and campaigner Matt Zarb-Cousin, who both told their personal stories of addiction; Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Frank Atherton; Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland; and Prof Rebecca Cassidy from Goldsmiths University of London.
Associate professor Samantha Thomas, from Deakin University, shared her perspective – revealing how her research shows young people in Australia are more positive about gambling companies than fast food or alcohol firms following decades of exposure to advertising.
“Quite often young people don’t realise they are so heavily exposed to advertising for these very harmful products,” she said.
“We’re hoping that the views of young people will be instrumental in getting momentum behind some really strict reforms around gambling advertising.”
The forum was jointly organised by the Living Room’s Beat the Odds campaign, The Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales and the University of South Wales, and was sponsored by Darren Millar AM.