The Big Conversation

What is The Big Conversation?

This brand new webinar series will provide a forum for industry leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and researchers to discuss a topic that is of current interest to the local business community.

Each of these lively, interactive sessions will be led by a different panel of speakers and will allow you to learn from others whilst sharing your knowledge of the subject.

Discussion topic

Join our Big Conversation webinar to discuss these questions and many more. Those in favour of gambling would argue it is a form of entertainment and for the vast majority, the extent to which they gamble is within their control, so it is not an addictive behaviour.  

Others who have experienced the devastating effects of gambling addiction either to themselves or their loved ones, would argue more has to be done to regulate the industry. Although the gambling industry supports the economy, millions of pounds are spent each year in the UK on providing support to those with a gambling addiction. It can lead to the breakdown of families, self-harm, job loss, debt, substance misuse and many more highly damaging consequences. 

Join us to hear our expert panel discuss whether gambling should be regarded as a matter of personal choice justifying the mantra – ‘when the fun stops, stop’ – or whether much more could and should be done to address the major issues around public health and wellbeing. The model of regulation and the role of the industry in the regulatory process will be at the heart of this debate.

The Panel

For more information on speakers during the webinar, please see below.

Before joining The University, David trained as a psychologist and criminologist. He has worked in practice, research, and policy in the areas of addiction recovery and rehabilitation of offenders. David leads research into work on desistance from offending, recovery capital, and addiction recovery.

View Professor David Best's staff profile


Matt has a wealth of experience in the area of addictions and currently leads the NHS Northern Gambling Service. The provision covers the whole of the north of England from the north Midlands to the Scottish border, with regional clinics in Manchester, Leeds, and Sunderland.

Matt is a leading advocate for the reform of gambling regulation and legislation. He was programme manager for the degree programme in addictions at University of Leeds for many years, and he is visiting lecturer in addiction at Doctoral level for the University of Birmingham and University of Leeds. He has twenty years’ experience working with people with long term and complex addiction presentations. His research interests include the nature of addiction, treatment and recovery, the criminal justice system, and public health approaches to preventing & minimising harm.

Beacon Counselling Trust is a mental health support provider delivering a wide range of community-based programmes across the general mental health arena. The Trust provides specialist services in eating disorders, suicide bereavement and problem gambling treatment and is delivered through multiple locations across the North West of England. Neil is an extremely experienced and well-respected mental health clinician. He is highly qualified in the field of mental health and emotional wellbeing, having worked both nationally and internationally.

Neil leads on the Problematic Gambling Treatment and support programme across the North West of England which is commissioned through GambleAware and GamCare. He also leads on the Big Deal Young People and Professionals gambling education Programme, two of the largest programmes of their type in the UK.  Alongside other project work, Neil is a Commissioner on the Howard League Commission exploring the link between gambling and criminality in the UK. He is a Winston Churchill fellow, researching the relationship between suicide bereavement and problem gambling and is also part of the NIHR Football Fans and Betting project group at Glasgow University.

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