Safer Gambling Week commences today 19 November 2020.
David Clifton’s current Licensing Expert article “Affordability takes centre stage” was specifically timed for publication by SBC News to mark Safer Gambling Week.
David’s panel session on 24 November 2020 for the EGR UK Virtual Summit 2020, entitled “Managing isolated player risk: Does the solution lie in technology?“, will come close to rounding off this year’s Safer Gambling Week.
David is also quoted in a CDC Gaming Reports article by Scott Longley entitled “The need to know of customer onboarding” published yesterday (18 November 2020).
The importance of Safer Gambling Week has been emphasised by Deborah Roil, Campaign Director of Safer Gambling Week, who has written as follows:
Safer Gambling Week begins today, a cross-industry nationwide initiative now in its fourth year. Its aim is to raise awareness of how to gamble more safely, the tools that are available to help people do this and the sources of advice and support if people are concerned about their gambling.
The week continues to have unprecedented support from across the industry and sectors; arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers, casinos and online, creating a genuinely pan-industry campaign.
It is led by the Betting and Gaming Council, The Bingo Association and bacta, with the Irish Bookmakers Association and its members taking part too. We are also working again this year with the national gambling support charities, GamCare and YGAM.
We are also delighted to have the support of the Government and the regulator, through DCMS Minister Nigel Huddleston and Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur, both of whom have publicly welcomed this year’s event.
It’s important to point out that of the 30 million people who enjoy a gamble in the UK every year, the vast majority do so safely and enjoyably. However, we must provide support for those who struggle. There are some fantastic support networks and resources available, some created by people with lived experience, to help better understand the risks and the wider impact it can have on people’s lives.
Activities during the week are a mixture of communicating with customers and those in the broader audience about safer gambling, raising awareness of tools, tips and where to find more information and support, and time for the industry to reflect on their efforts to date, share knowledge and best practice and consider what more can be done to create a safer gambling environment.
GamCare is delivering online training sessions for businesses throughout the week, while YGAM is delivering digital workshops for teachers and practitioners who work with young people. They will also be working closely with high profile organisations such as the National Union for Students and football clubs. The English Football League, and their 72 clubs, will be promoting the week’s activities at matches, while the Racecourse Association and individual courses, such as Ascot, will also be participating once again.
With so many betting shops and casinos across the country shut due to COVID-19 restrictions, the industry is focusing on the digital elements of the campaign, engaging with customers through their own digital channels and participating in the social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Do keep your eye on #SGWeek2020 to keep up to date with what’s going on.
This year, for the first time, we also have the Safer Gambling Forum, which will provide an opportunity for the industry to share knowledge and best practice about their year-round work on the subject.
So, the industry is working together, even with the unique situation we find ourselves in for 2020, promoting safer betting and the tools available to help those who need support.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting & Gaming Council has made his own comment by saying that the industry is committed to safer gambling “not for one week but for all year round”, the BGC’s website stating as follows:
Michael Dugher, CEO of the standards body the Betting and Gaming Council, has marked the beginning of ‘Safer Gambling Week’ by saying that the industry is committed to safer gambling “not for one week but for all year round”.
And Covid-19 restrictions which have led to the closure of betting shops and casinos across the UK will not prevent the week from being a success, he said.
Mr Dugher said the significance of the event – which is now in its fourth year – in kickstarting a national conversation on the importance of safer betting will be undiminished by the latest lockdowns.
Nevertheless, the event’s strapline – ‘Let’s Talk About Safer Gambling’ – will still feature prominently online and in those venues which have escaped the current Covid restrictions.
As well as betting shops, casinos and online operators, arcades and bingo companies are also getting involved to promote the many tools available to help promote safer gambling.
These include initiating conversations with customers about the help that is available; promoting the setting of limits on spend or time played; safer gambling messages displayed in premise windows; and leaflets about help and support for customers.
Operator websites will also promote safer gambling messages to customers through banner ads or pop ups throughout the week.
Mr Dugher said:
“Safer Gambling Week is incredibly important, but safer gambling should not be seen by anyone as simply something we support for one week of the year – it is a commitment for every week of the year.
Since being set up a year ago, the BGC has been at the forefront of efforts to drive up standards within our industry.
Some 30 million people in Britain enjoy a flutter every year – whether that’s in betting shops, casinos, playing bingo, betting and gaming online or on the National Lottery – and the vast majority do so perfectly safely.
However, one problem gambler is one too many, which is why we are delighted to support Safer Gambling Week.
The various lockdowns across the UK will inevitably mean that Safer Gambling Week 2020 will be different from those which have gone before, but its central theme remains as important as ever and will still be heard loud and clear.
We have already made huge strides in our first year, including a requirement that at least 20 per cent of all TV and radio betting advertising be safer gambling messaging, introducing cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, bringing in new ID and age verification checks, and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment.
But we are eager to go further – and look forward to working with the Government on the Gambling Review to introduce further changes that ensure that the millions of people who enjoy an occasional flutter do so enjoyably and safely.”
The event also has the support of Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, who said: “Gambling operators have a responsibility to keep customers safe from harm. I’m pleased that the industry is coming together to recognise the importance of clear and consistent safer gambling messaging and to help those who need it find support.”
Neil McArthur, chief executive of industry regulator the Gambling Commission, said:
“We welcome the emphasis on safer gambling and it is encouraging to see operators from all sectors collaborating to raise awareness of the need to put consumer safety at the heart of everything they do.”
As if prefacing Safer Gambling Week, yesterday (18 November 2020) the Government answered the following question by The Lord Bishop of St Albans: “….. what assessment they have made of the findings from the Gambling Commission’s 2020 Young People and Gambling Survey; and what steps they are taking to reduce problem gambling among 11 to 16-year olds” as follows:
Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is a priority for government, and the government and the Gambling Commission work closely together on that issue. Gambling operators must abide by strict requirements for the protection of children and are subject to sanction by the Commission if they breach these rules. In May 2019 the Commission strengthened protections further to prevent children engaging in illegal underage gambling online by requiring operators to verify age and identity before allowing customers to deposit money or place a bet.
Since September 2020 teaching about the risks related to online gambling has been included in the Health Education curriculum, which is compulsory for pupils in state-funded schools. This is in addition to initiatives by third-sector bodies, including the PSHE Association’s resources to help teachers educate their pupils about the risks of gambling and how to avoid them, and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s (YGAM) training and tools for teachers, youth workers, mental health specialists and others who work with children and young people.
The Gambling Commission conducts an annual survey of gambling activity by children and young people. The outbreak of Covid 19 halted fieldwork for the 2020 survey before it was finished, which meant that the survey’s sample size was significantly smaller than in previous years and that no surveys were completed in Wales. The Commission has made clear that results of the 2020 survey are therefore not representative of Great Britain and should not be compared to those of previous years. However, we have noted the information carefully as we do all research and data relating to children and gambling.
The government has committed to review the Gambling Act 2005 to make sure it is fit for the digital age and further details will be announced in due course.