The UK’s gambling industry will rebrand its Responsible Gambling Week project as the Safer Gambling Week from this year.
The initiative, which is backed by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Bingo Association (BA) and the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), has long used the tagline “let’s talk about safer gambling”, but this year the official title will change to reflect the renewed focus on awareness and education around safer gambling.
The 2020 event will run between 19-25 November and is designed to create conversations around safe and responsible gambling between businesses, staff, customers and their friends and family.
Last year, the campaign generated more than 25 million social media impressions, with the initiative providing artwork for messaging materials to all participants free of charge for use in posters and leaflets offline and banners and social media kits on the web. And the project hopes to expand its reach in 2020, with materials reflecting a changing landscape for the industry amid the ongoing global pandemic.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “As the new body representing the betting and gaming industry, the BGC is committed to driving up standards and promoting safer gambling…Our members are determined to raise standards and as part of this year’s campaign can point to significant changes that we have introduced, including new cooling-off periods on gaming machines, substantially increased funding for research, education and treatment; a ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on advertising during sport; new ID and age-verification checks and a ban on betting with credit cards.
“And during the covid-19 outbreak, we have published a 10-pledge action plan to promote safer gambling, while our members also voluntarily agreed to remove TV and radio gaming advertising, replacing their slots with safer gambling messages or donating them to charity. As businesses emerge from lockdown, I’m looking forward to this year’s Safer Gambling Week being a tremendous success.”
BA chief executive Miles Baron added the initiative provided a “useful focal point” for gambling industry’s player protection efforts throughout the year and its ongoing commitment to social responsibility.
Safer Gambling Week is a welcome evolution and consolidation of the steps the UK igaming industry is taking to address the issues around problem gambling, but it is not unique in its message. Beyond the major industry groups and bodies, various independent gambling portals and websites publish guides designed to help people find the information they need, such as SuperLenny’s responsible gambling guide, which discusses how to spot the signs of gambling addiction and where to find help.
Around the world, every country is looking to find a balance between opening up online gambling markets so that those that want to play at casinos or bet on sporting fixtures can do so safely and responsibly whilst also protecting vulnerable people. The UK’s now four-year-old Safer Gambling Week is a positive initiative, but it is critical that such awareness campaigns are backed up by legislative and technological solutions to protect both players and their families.