Dugher reiterates importance of Safer Gambling Week as problem rates fall

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Executive Michael Dugher has described responsible gambling as the industry’s ‘top priority all year round’ as the sector enters Safer Gambling Week.

Commencing this week and running to 7 November, the annual campaign has the support of the BGC, amusement machine trade association Bacta and the Bingo Association.

Having been organised since 2017, this year’s campaign will feature a ‘blitz of safer gambling messages’ across online and land-based verticals to inform a ‘nationwide conversation’ on responsible betting.

A range of operators from across the sector will participate throughout the week to encourage their staff and customers as well as the general public on safer gambling.

“Safer Gambling Week is now an established annual event,” Dugher remarked. “We know that rates of problem gambling are low and are now falling, which is great news, but Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards.

“Millions of people enjoy a flutter every year on the National Lottery, at the bingo, on sports, in casinos and gaming online – and the vast majority of them do so safely and responsibly. But one problem gambler is one too many, which is why Safer Gambling Week is so important.”

Dugher has outlined an aim to build on the figure showing that two million people now use deposit limits, one of the safer gambling tools offered by the BGC’s operator members, whilst the association has also referenced a recent UK Gambling Commission report into problem gambling rates. 

The study showed that the problem gambling rate has fallen from 0.6% to 0.3% over the past year, whilst the number of people classed as being at ‘moderate risk’ of harm declined from 1.2% to 0.7%. The BGC hopes to further build on this figure with the week-long campaign.

Dugher continued: “This is about building on the two million customers who now use deposit limits, and it is also about making sure that those who need help know where they can get it. We don’t want people drifting off to the unsafe, unregulated black market online.

“Safer Gambling Week brings together everyone who genuinely wants to see safer gambling including the regulator, the Government and so many cross-party MPs. For the regulated industry, safer gambling isn’t just an issue for one week of the year, it’s our top priority all year round.”

The beginning of Responsible Gamlbing Week comes after the announcement of the BGC’s ‘Take Time to Think’ campaign last month as a replacement for the long-running ‘When the FUn Stops, Stop’ initiative, with which the organisation aims to encourage customers to control their betting behaviour via tools such as self-exclusion schemes, time outs and deposit limits. 

Chris Philp MP, Gambling Minister, commented: “Safer Gambling Week is an important moment for the industry to come together and continue to do all it can to promote safer gambling and prevent gambling-related harm year-round.

“We need to find ways of doing more to protect those with severe gambling addiction from the life changing damage they can suffer. Our ongoing review of the Gambling Act will ensure our laws are fit for the digital age, and strike the right balance between protecting those most at risk and giving adults the freedom to choose how they gamble safely.”

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