The Irish gambling industry is coming together to support the launch of the first ever Responsible Gambling Week Ireland.
It is the biggest social responsibility campaign that has been held in Ireland. The theme for the campaign is simply, “A great tip – know when to stop” with the aim of starting conversations about what it means to gamble responsibly. This national awareness campaign will run from 5-11 February 2018.
Sharon Byrne, Chairperson for the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) spoke to SBC about the initiative and how positive it can be when it comes to encouraging responsible gambling in Ireland.
SBC: Can you further explain the importance of initiatives like Ireland’s first Responsible Gambling Week?
Sharon Byrne: Responsible gambling week is the first ever cross industry initiative of its kind in Ireland. It’s about getting the message out there that gambling is supposed to be fun, and there are some tools and tips for keeping it that way and identifying possible problems that may be developing. It is also about letting people know about the services that are available for people affected by problem gambling.
SBC: Could reveal what it is that you hope to achieve in this week?
SB: We hope to achieve a greater awareness about gambling and how it can affect a small number of people in a negative way. We also hope that it will let people know about the services available and how to access them.
SBC: What methods can operators utilise to continue promoting safe gambling and build on this week?
SB: Operators should continue to build upon the measures already introduced such as staff training, self-exclusion, time outs, deposit and/or staking limits, time limits, breaks, etc. By following international best practice, and continually improving current practices and safeguards, we can make gambling safer for those who may have an addictive personality. Increased public awareness about how to gamble safely and how to access support services is also needed, along with ensuring all operators in the gambling industry apply the same principles and practices.
SBC: Whilst in England FOBTs are at the heart of problem gambling, can you outline some of the problem gambling issues that affect Irish bettors?
SB In Ireland there are many ways to gamble, not just inside a betting shop or at an online betting site, such as race tracks, lottery, scratch cards, card clubs, tote, poker nights, arcades, machines in pubs and unfortunately via black market operators set up in pubs or internet cafes. It is important that the entire licensed gambling sector embrace this week and what it is trying to achieve. We are looking forward to the introduction of the Gambling Control bill as it will ensure all operators comply and contribute all year round.
SBC: How important is it that Responsible Gambling week is extended to Live betting events as well as retail betting?
SB: The Responsible gambling week message applies to all sectors of the gambling industry, not just retail betting or live betting. It is being promoted at the race tracks, dog tracks and coursing events taking place that week also.
Sharon will be speaking on a panel at this year’s Betting on Football Conference (20-23 March). She will be discussing how operators can increase responsible gambling as part of The Customer Journey track which will be on based around building the perfect customer environment and striking a balance between a smooth and safe registration process. To find out more about the event click on the banner below.