The UK’s eight million betting shop customers are to benefit from improved standards to help them bet safely and responsibly from 1st November, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has announced.
The “Responsible Gambling Code” will be introduced by all members of the ABB, and encapsulates a ban on the advertising of gaming machines in shop windows, the development of a national self-exclusion scheme and the banning of advertising on TV free bets as a sign-up incentive before 9pm.
The code includes best practice standards for the use of behavioural data to identify customers who may be developing problems with their gambling based on agreed markers of harm – this measure will enable shop staff to engage earlier with customers who may be at risk.
On the issue of age verification testing, all ABB members work to the Think 21 standard, to ensure underage gambling cannot take place. In the new Code, there is a commitment to focus on challenging people on their age as soon as they enter a shop.
The new Code will be enforced by the independent Responsible Gambling Committee, who will have the option to revoke an operator’s membership of the Association.
ABB Chief Executive, Malcolm George, said:
“The past year has been a year of innovation for the industry in the area of responsible gambling. The initial code signalled our intent to take action this area and introduced some important early steps. However, as the industry trials and rolls out initiatives such as multi-operator self-exclusion and new ways of using customer data to identify potential harm, it is important that our Code is updated to reflect these developments.
We have also cemented our commitment in the original code to work with local councils by signing a partnership agreement with the Local Government Association to work together more closely, and we are piloting cross-operator self-exclusion schemes in Chatham and Glasgow and working with the Gambling Commission to introduce a national cross operator scheme in the New Year. We have also strengthened the Safe Bet Alliance guidelines for keeping shops as safe from crime as possible.
By updating the Code, we are reflecting the progress and keeping it relevant for our eight million customers.”
The initial ABB Code for Responsible Gambling was launched in October 2013 and introduced for the first time anywhere in the world the ability for a player to set a limit on the amount of time they play for, or the money they spend.
Under the new Code commitments, players are now required to decide whether they wish to set a limit, rather than it simply being something they might consider.
The new Code comes alongside recent regulatory changes for gaming machines, including the introduction of new rules for those wishing to bet more than £50.