Former Student gives sports learners first-hand insight into the dangers of gambling
The Coventry man behind a gambling education initiative that is taking professional and grassroots sport by storm has returned to the city to help youngsters learn about the dangers of betting.
Aaron Abbott, 32, visited Coventry College this month to give sports learners first-hand insight into the dangers of gambling as part of Against the Odds – a community organisation which Aaron set up to educate young people and reduce the number of lives lost or seriously impacted by gambling addiction.
Aaron spoke with students from the college’s football and rugby academies and, as a former student and captain of the Coventry College rugby team, offered personal insight into his experiences with gambling, which started at college.
Against the Odds, which Aaron established in 2022, has already teamed up with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday FC, Barnsley FC and Steven Gerrard’s Academy in Tenerife, to educate staff and players around the UK gambling sector and the risk of addiction, which has a higher suicide rate associated with it than any other form of addiction in the UK.
The sessions covered an introduction into gambling, physical and financial impacts of gambling, how to identify a problem in yourself or within friends, gambling within elite sport, gambling advertising and marketing, money management, and other practical information such as understanding your credit report and the effect it can have on getting loans or a mortgage
Aaron said: “It’s brilliant to see decision makers at Coventry College taking an interest in educating their pupils around the gambling sector, which affects the lives of so many, with habits often beginning around college age.”
“Sports betting is a very attractive proposition to sports fans of all ages, and if managed correctly can be safe, social fun. But with the extra level of personal freedom and income you get after leaving school, it can very quickly spiral into a serious problem for young people.
“It’s been a real privilege to come back to my old stomping ground and reach out to youngsters who are in the same position I was when I developed my addiction.
“Education is so important on this topic, and the fact we have been able to show students how the gambling industry works, how they can spot the signs of a problem developing and what to do about it is fantastic.
“The growth of Against the Odds over the last year or so has been phenomenal, and we have big growth plans to keep spreading our message and raising awareness. The business is at an exciting stage with upcoming work with Coventry City FC, the Aston Villa Foundation, various educational organisations, The NFL Academy via Loughborough College and even online delivery with High Schools in the USA.”
Pete Glackin, Head of Rugby, Sports Development & Academies Manager at Coventry College, said: “Gambling addiction is such a vital topic, and it is brilliant that our learners have had the chance to hear from Aaron about his journey and find out more about how the industry works and the steps they can take to spot and address a problem.”