The number of punters using safer gambling tools rocketed thanks to Safer Gambling Week, new figures released today show.

Analysis of last year’s successful campaign in October revealed around 200,000 accounts set deposit limits during this month, an increase of 12.5 per cent compared to the same month the year previous.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of players setting deposit limits, did so for the first time.

And the number of players actively using reality checks - on-screen alerts tracking how long customers are playing - rose by an astonishing 300 per cent.

Safer Gambling Week also smashed previous social media records, generating nearly 30 million impressions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, a 21 per cent increase on 2021.

These latest figures come after the Gambling Commission found problem gambling rates among UK adults have fallen to 0.2 per cent, down from 0.3 per cent the year previous.

Safer Gambling Week is an annual cross-sector initiative bringing together the UK and Irish regulated betting and gaming industry – including bookmakers, amusement arcades, bingo clubs, casinos and online gaming operators – with charities and stakeholders to encourage safe and responsible play.

BGC Chief Executive, Michael Dugher said: “These new figures show Safer Gambling Week has made a huge impact and continues to be an increasingly vital platform to successfully encourage the use of safer gambling tools in the regulated industry.

“Millions of customers now use safer gambling tools including deposit limits and time outs. This is a pillar of the regulated betting and gaming industry and is in marked contrast to the unsafe, unregulated and growing online gambling black market, which has none of the safeguards strictly employed by BGC members. Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards.

“When we launched Safer Gambling Week last year, there was the usual disparagement from the usual suspects in the anti-gambling lobby who want to see less gambling not safer gambling. But millions of people do enjoy a bet - whether that’s on the lottery, sports, bingo or gaming - and even though problem gambling is very low at 0.2% according to the latest figures, it’s important our customers continue to gamble safely and responsibly. This is where technology and the regulated industry can help.

“We look forward to Safer Gambling Week 2023 with renewed enthusiasm following last year’s outstanding success.”

A core feature of the campaign was promoting and highlighting available tools which empower customers to enjoy betting and gaming more responsibly.

Among the well-known sporting figures to support the campaign, which is also backed by Government, were former football manager Harry Redknapp and former Celtic striker John Hartson, who both recorded videos sharing advice with punters.

A large number of cross-party senior MPs and peers, including then DCMS minister responsible for betting and gaming Damian Collins MP, and several shadow ministers including Shadow DCMS Secretary Lucy Powell MP, gave their backing to the ground-breaking campaign.

Around 22.5 million UK adults enjoy a bet each month, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, playing online or having a wager on football, horseracing and other sports.

The regulated betting and gaming industry contributes £7.1bn to the economy, generates £4.2bn in tax, and supports 110,000 jobs.

Meanwhile the unsafe, unregulated gambling black market makes no contribution to the economy, jobs or sports while paying zero tax. The numbers using these sites have doubled in recent years and the amount staked is in the billions.

The Government is preparing to publish reforms to betting in the UK. The BGC strongly supports the Gambling Review as a further opportunity to raise standards and promote safer gambling, but any changes introduced by the Government must not drive gamblers towards the growing unsafe, unregulated black market online, who do nothing to promote safer gaming.

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