Photo of Brigid Simmonds

Brigid Simmonds

New GamCare Code Places the Customer at the Heart of Safer Gambling Commitments.

The Government’s Gambling Review continues, but that doesn’t mean that all other work on promoting safer gambling is put on hold.

GamCare’s new Industry Code for the Display of Safer Gambling Information, which has been developed in consultation with BGC members, GamCare service users and other gambling support services, launches today. All BGC members are expected to adhere to the code by August 31, 2021.

The code aims to provide customers with easy access to straightforward, well signposted tools and support in a way which is consistent across all platforms.

According to the Government, the rate of problem gambling is 0.5 per cent and has been steady for the last 20 years. But one gambler experiencing harm is one too many, which is why this code is so important.

Under the code, safer gambling information must be displayed in a primary position on navigation menus and in the customer account section, as well as within space allocated for promotion or advertising.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the BGC published a 10-pledge action plan setting out the standards expected of our members during lockdown. The top pledge was to increase the number of safer gambling messages on websites and directly to customers. As a result, the number of such messages on betting sites has more than doubled, while the number sent directly to individual customers has gone up by 150 per cent. It is important that the messages and interventions are eye catching and change over time so they cannot be ignored, but central messages such as set deposit limits, and join online groups or chatrooms, will help everyone.

Equally important as safer gambling messages are details of how to contact the National Gambling Helpline, how to self-exclude from all gambling spending, opt out of advertising, and, through the banks, to stop gambling payments. Prominent, visible and accessible signposting will help all customers and be even more effective if they are consistent, no matter which site they are using, even if they are customers of several different companies.

When the Betting and Gaming Council first launched as the standards body for the regulated industry at the end of 2019, we published a number of safer gambling commitments. We now have a VIP Code for higher value customers, which has reduced the number by over 70 per cent. We have also introduced new rules to further prevent under-18s seeing betting ads online, while the whistle to whistle ban has reduced the number of TV betting commercials seen by children during live sport by 97 per cent.

A new Games Design Code has led to slower spin speeds, more checks on players and improved access to safer gambling information, and just last month, we introduced a new code of conduct aimed at preventing football clubs from using their official social media accounts to promote gambling offers.

I am proud that we have achieved so much – but there is more still to do to further improve standards and tackle problem gambling. Our support for the GamCare Industry Code for the Display of Safer Gambling Information is further evidence of our commitment to this vitally important work.

GamCare Industry Code for the Display of Safer Gambling >

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