BGC: Safer gambling values are important ‘all year round’

BGC: Safer gambling values are important ‘all year round’

As the industry marks the beginning of Safer Gambling Week, Michael Dugher, CEO of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has reaffirmed his belief that the betting sector is committed to promoting social responsibility ‘not for one week but all year around’.

The event, which is now in its fourth year, is integral in kick starting the national conversation on the importance of responsible gambling, explained Dugher.

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.”

At a time when betting shops across the UK are closed due to coronavirus restrictions, the BGC CEO noted that the industry still remains committed to ensuring that Safer Gambling Week is a ‘success’.

For shops operating in areas under relaxed COVID restrictions, operators will still feature the ‘Let’s talk about safer gambling’ event strapline.

As well as betting shops, casinos and online operators, arcades and bingo companies will also be involved in promoting the tools available to help promote responsible gambling. Operator websites will also promote social responsibility messages to customers through banner ads or pop ups throughout the week.

Dugher continued: “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, concluded: “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.”

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