Responsible Gambling (RG) Week 2019 has been a huge success and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) are delighted to have been involved. Responsible gambling is a central part of our mission to champion industry standards, which is why we fully support the diverse and inspiring announcements and initiatives of the past seven days. Whilst RGWeek 2019 has been extremely effective at raising awareness however, it will only be worthwhile if we can ensure it drives lasting standards for the industry.
You may have read about the wide-ranging and ambitious Responsible Gambling Commitments launched last week, and I am proud that the BGC will be driving these commitments forward in the coming years. I’m also delighted to have announced the new Anonymous Player Awareness System on behalf of the BGC this week. This system will identify potentially harmful behaviour in betting shops and trigger a “cooling-off period”, while alerting members of staff to the need for a possible intervention.
The BGC fully support the charities and organisations focusing on work to encourage responsible gambling in RGWeek 2019 and beyond. GamCare and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) have run free training and workshops designed to start a dialogue with young people at risk. Their programmes aim to encourage young people to be more open about gambling-related difficulties, to develop greater awareness of the boundary between responsible gambling and addictive play, and to learn about where to find crucial support.
RGWeek has sponsored several different schemes throughout the past seven days designed to educate individuals about tools and frameworks currently in place. These include timekeeping reality checks warning players about excessive play, the roll-out of the universal GamStop scheme, and the new safer gambling campaign which addresses some of the concerns raised by the recent cross-party report by the Gambling Related Harm APPG.
Raising awareness and promoting education remain the most effective tools for encouraging responsible gambling. A recent YouGov poll found that 77% of users believe that the necessary tools are in place to promote responsible gambling, yet 60% believe that a more extensive education campaign to promote these tools would be worthwhile.
Responsible gambling initiatives need to be communicated better and more accessible to ensure that individuals can engage with them. RGWeek 2019 has shown how this campaigning should be undertaken and we look forward to playing a leading role in this work in the years ahead.
We know that considerable work is required to ensure that all betting and gaming is carried out responsibly, and Responsible Gambling Week has shown that achieving this is not an unrealistic ambition and that the industry is working hard to achieve this.
Brigid Simmonds OBE
Chairman, Betting and Gaming Council.