Following the formal launch of the Betting and Gaming Council yesterday, we now enter Responsible Gambling Week (7th – 13th November) – an initiative led by industry to spark conversations between customers, staff and the wider public about safe play.
The purpose of Responsible Gambling Week is to ensure that everybody involved with the industry has the necessary resource to make sound and informed decisions. This includes everything from information about risks, the tools available to prompt safer play such as self-exclusion schemes, and where to go to seek further advice and support.
Operators across the country are undertaking several initiatives to mark Responsible Gambling Week – from one-time events in some venues to online banners and ads on betting websites – while charities such as GamCare and YGAM will be running workshops and training sessions throughout the week. Many of these will focus on those that influence young people in their decisions, such as parents, teachers, youth workers and health professionals.
Moreover, this week our members in betting shops have launched the Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS), a real-time algorithm designed to identify specific areas of player behaviour which may indicate harmful play and issue warnings to mitigate the risks to users. Any behaviour identified as harmful will trigger an alert appearing on-screen to initiate an enforced break in play (i.e. cool-off period) and to alert staff, allowing for a Responsible Gambling Interaction (RGI) where appropriate.
This announcement is the first of several as the BGC aims to foster a safe and enjoyable betting and gaming environment for customers, staff and society. However, our work doesn’t just stop when Responsible Gambling Week ends. The Betting and Gaming Council will spend the forthcoming months researching, developing and implementing new codes of practice designed to champion the highest standards and to educate users in specific areas related to betting and gaming.
Additionally, we intend to work collaboratively with government, regulators and stakeholders to ensure an enjoyable, fair and safe experience for all our customers. For example, we are currently working with the Gambling Commission on patterns of play, affordability, and undertaking research on game characteristics and what impact they may have on customer behaviour. We will also be seeking the views of our customers on what more they would like to see us do.
All the activity we have mentioned is being undertaken with the goal of improving industry standards.
Although this work starts this week, it certainly doesn’t end there. Safer gambling will be our priority through-out the year.
Chairman, Brigid Simmonds OBE