BETTING AND GAMING COUNCIL CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PUT CHILD PROTECTION ‘FRONT AND CENTRE’ OF GAMBLING WHITE PAPER
Standards body the Betting and Gaming Council has called on the Government to put child protection “front and centre” of the forthcoming Gambling White Paper.
Chief executive Michael
Dugher made the call as the BGC highlighted the work
already done by the regulated industry to keep young people safe.
He said the
measures were in “stark contrast” to the unsafe unregulated black market
online, which has none of the safer gambling measures offered by BGC members,
like strict age verification checks.
In all, 15 child
protection measures have been introduced since 2019, when the BGC was
established, with further measures planned in the months ahead.
They include the £10m
Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is delivered to
children, teachers and youth workers across the UK by leading safer
gambling charities YGAM and GamCare.
year, BGC members introduced new rules aimed at ensuring that
children cannot view gambling ads on football clubs’ official social media
BGC members also
introduced new age gating rules on advertising on social platforms,
restricting the ads to those aged 25 and over for most sites.
Early results from one
operator showed a 96 per cent drop in views of social
media advertisements by those aged 18 to 24 in the final three months of
2020, compared to the same period the year before.
The whistle to
whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport before the
watershed has led to a 97 per cent reduction in the number of young people
viewing such ads at that time.
As a further example of
our members’ commitment to child protection, figures released by independent
analysts Serve Legal revealed that betting shops’ record on age
verification checks are better than those of supermarkets, convenience stores
and petrol forecourts.
Ninety per cent of betting shops have passed ‘secret
shopper’ checks in 2021 so far, compared to 83 per cent of convenience stores,
77 per cent of supermarkets and 76 per cent of petrol forecourts.
The BGC is also working
with social media platforms and search companies to look at ways of allowing
individuals to unsubscribe from betting adverts.
The BGC is also calling
on others in the regulated betting and gaming industry, and those selling
products such as scratch cards in convenience stores and fruit machines in
pubs, to follow the lead of betting shops in their success with independent age
In a sign that the work
the BGC has done is having an impact a recent report by the
Gambling Commission showed that the rate of problem
gambling for 16 to 24-year-olds had fallen
from 0.8 per cent to 0.4 per cent.
According to separate
Gambling Commission data, the proportion of young people saying they had
gambled in the previous seven days fell from 23 per cent in 2011 to 11 per cent
in 2019. The regulator also found that the main forms of gambling by 11 to
16-year-olds are playing cards, private bets with friends, scratchcards and
fruit machines, not with BGC members.
Executive Michael Dugher said:
“We strongly support
the Government’s Gambling Review, which highlighted the protection of children
and vulnerable people in a fair and open gambling economy as one of the
Government’s main priorities. We therefore hope that child protection will be
front and centre of the forthcoming white paper.
“It is clear that
the steps BGC members have taken over the previous two
years are now providing results.
“Nevertheless, we are
not complacent, and protecting young people remains our top priority as we
continue raising standards across the regulated industry.
“The BGC and
our members will continue drive further changes to prevent
under-18s and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to gambling
“The regulated betting
and gaming industry is determined to promote safer gambling, which is in
stark contrast to the unsafe and growing online black market, which has
none of the safeguards which are commonplace among BGC members.”