Although gambling levels have dropped during the COVID crisis, our commitment to safer gambling is being stepped up.
SAFER GAMBLING: TEN PLEDGE COVID ACTION PLAN
Launched just four days into the first national lockdown, our Ten Pledge Covid Action Plan detailed the standards expected of BGC members during the pandemic.
The ten pledges extended existing safer gambling initiatives to take account of the need for heightened monitoring, tailored responses and new action to address the unprecedented requirements for social distancing and home working.
Although overall gambling fell dramatically with the absence of sport and closure of betting shops and casinos, our pledges were unveiled with immediate effect. This was critical to ensure the highest protections to anyone who, as a result of the crisis, may be more vulnerable to gambling harm.
In November 2020, BGC members reaffirmed their commitments to the pledges.
KEY SAFER GAMBLING PLEDGES
- Increase safer gambling messages across all sites and direct to all customers
- Step up interventions if customers increase time and spend beyond normal pre-crisis patterns
- Actively promote deposit limits
- Action to ensure appropriate and responsible advertising including monitoring volume
- Report all illegal, rogue advertising from black market online operators:
- One-strike-and-you’re-out policy where affiliates breach pledges
- Signpost help to GAMCARE and the National Gambling Helpline and GamStop for self-exclusion
- Commitment to ensuring funding for Research Education and Treatment (RET)
- Welfare checks and well-being help for staff
- Supporting the Government’s ‘National Effort’ with volunteers and facilities
COVID ACTION PLAN DOUBLES SAFER GAMBLING MESSAGES
The number of safer gambling messages displayed on the websites of betting operators has more than doubled in just six months since the launch of a Betting and Gaming Council Covid action plan.
Top of the pledges was a commitment to increase the number of safer gambling messages on websites and directly to customers. It has now emerged that the number of those messages has increased by more than 100 per cent since the BGC pledges were introduced.
Meanwhile, the number of individual customers receiving safer gambling messages via direct mail has increased by 150 per cent. And the total number of direct mails which include a safer gambling message has soared from 6 million to over 11 million a month – an increase of 89 per cent.
In addition, the number of direct interventions by operators where a player has been spending more time or money betting than they did before the pandemic has also increased by 25 per cent.
The findings, unveiled by BGC chair Brigid Simmonds in December 2020, are in addition to other measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
MEMBERS STEP UP TO SUPPORT THE NATIONAL EFFORT
A computer engineer from West Yorkshire and his girlfriend turned their home into a make shift factory to keep NHS workers safe at the height of the pandemic.
Nick Pearson, who works for William Hill, took a sabbatical to work full time on producing face coverings for NHS and other key workers using 3D printers.
With the help of partner Lauren and friends, and funding from public donors and the William Hill Foundation, the team produced more than 9,000 protective visors.
"My job at William Hill is important, but nothing is more important than helping out in this pandemic." Nick Hill