D Roil Photo

Deborah Roil

We want this year's Safer Gambling Week to be the best one yet.

A bit like Christmas, Safer Gambling Week seems to come round quicker every year. This year’s event runs from November 1 to 7 and preparations are well underway.

It’s the fifth year of the campaign and we are determined to make it the best one yet.

First, a bit of background. Safer Gambling Week is led by the Betting and Gaming Council and supported by the Bingo Association, bacta – the trade body representing amusement arcades – and the Irish Bookmakers Association.

The aim of Safer Gambling Week is a simple one; to encourage safer gambling by highlighting the various initiatives undertaken by the regulated industry to ensure people enjoy gambling safely and responsibly.

Around 30 million people – half the population of the UK – gamble. According to the Government, the rate of problem gambling is 0.5 per cent and has been stable for the past 20 years. Nevertheless, one problem gambler is one too many, which is why Safer Gambling Week is so important.

The campaign has grown every year since it was first launched and, as well as strong support and participation from all sections of the regulated industry, we are also seeing increasing interest from organisations outside gambling, demonstrating the effectiveness and importance of Safer Gambling Week. The excellent teams at GamCare and YGAM have supported the campaign from the very beginning and are our leading charity partners, while the football and horseracing industries are also keen supporters of what we do.

Despite the fact that last year’s Safer Gambling Week took place during lockdown, meaning betting shops, casinos and arcades were closed, it was still a big success. There were 170,000 visits to the Safer Gambling website (up 12% on 2019) and 19 million impressions on social media (up 19%) during the seven days. Operators reported a substantially increased number of visits (35% up on the previous month) to their own safer gambling website pages too and the number of players setting a deposit limit during Safer Gambling Week was up by 58% on the previous four-week period.

With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us and land-based businesses open as normal, this year’s event should be even better.

It should also be stressed that, important though it is, Safer Gambling Week can only achieve so much. That’s why the industry actively promotes safe and responsible betting 365 days a year, working with customers, and providing tools such as deposit limits and time-outs, to help people stay in control of how much they are spending. One of the key features of Safer Gambling Week is to amplify the help that is out there for those who may be at risk of harm to as wide an audience as possible.

Safer Gambling Week is also a time for the industry to reflect on its work in this area and what more needs to be done. Many operators use the week as the platform for a variety of employee-focused initiatives on safer gambling, ranging from guest speakers and panel discussions to quizzes, competitions and themed coffee breaks. There are also two industry events, run by EGR UK, during Safer Gambling Week: the Safer Gambling Summit, for senior management, and the Safer Gambling Forum, a series of online sessions that provide the industry with opportunities to share knowledge and best practice about their work on safer gambling.

We want this year’s Safer Gambling Week to be the best one yet, raising more awareness and participation than ever before.

Deborah Roil is Campaign Director of Safer Gambling Week

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