Safer Gambling Week brings the industry, charities and sports sectors together to highlight a vitally important issue
Deborah Roil, Campaign Director of Safer Gambling Week, writes about the importance of this week.
Safer Gambling Week begins today, a cross-industry nationwide initiative now in its fourth year. Its aim is to raise awareness of how to gamble more safely, the tools that are available to help people do this and the sources of advice and support if people are concerned about their gambling.
The week continues to have unprecedented support from across the industry and sectors; arcades, bingo clubs, bookmakers, casinos and online, creating a genuinely pan-industry campaign.
It is led by the Betting and Gaming Council, The Bingo Association and bacta, with the Irish Bookmakers Association and its members taking part too. We are also working again this year with the national gambling support charities, GamCare and YGAM.
We are also delighted to have the support of the Government and the regulator, through DCMS Minister Nigel Huddleston and Gambling Commission Chief Executive Neil McArthur, both of whom have publicly welcomed this year’s event.
It’s important to point out that of the 30 million people who enjoy a gamble in the UK every year, the vast majority do so safely and enjoyably. However, we must provide support for those who struggle. There are some fantastic support networks and resources available, some created by people with lived experience, to help better understand the risks and the wider impact it can have on people’s lives.
Activities during the week are a mixture of communicating with customers and those in the broader audience about safer gambling, raising awareness of tools, tips and where to find more information and support, and time for the industry to reflect on their efforts to date, share knowledge and best practice and consider what more can be done to create a safer gambling environment.
GamCare is delivering online training sessions for businesses throughout the week, while YGAM is delivering digital workshops for teachers and practitioners who work with young people. They will also be working closely with high profile organisations such as the National Union for Students and football clubs. The English Football League, and their 72 clubs, will be promoting the week’s activities at matches, while the Racecourse Association and individual courses, such as Ascot, will also be participating once again.
With so many betting shops and casinos across the country shut due to COVID-19 restrictions, the industry is focusing on the digital elements of the campaign, engaging with customers through their own digital channels and participating in the social media campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Do keep your eye on #SGWeek2020 to keep up to date with what’s going on.
This year, for the first time, we also have the Safer Gambling Forum, which will provide an opportunity for the industry to share knowledge and best practice about their year-round work on the subject.
So, the industry is working together, even with the unique situation we find ourselves in for 2020, promoting safer betting and the tools available to help those who need support.