Industry encourages takeup of RG tools for Safer Gambling Week

| By Marese O'Hagan
Stakeholders across the UK gambling sector have thrown their support behind Safer Gambling Week, which takes place between 17-23 October.
safer gambling week

Safer Gambling Week is backed by the BGC, Bacta and the Lotteries Council and Bingo Association. It is in its fifth year.

Each year, the industry shares tools and information that can help to to reduce gambling harm.

In a video posted to social media, BGC chair Brigid Simmons said that although it is good to focus on responsible gambling throughout the week, the topic must be addressed all year round.

“Safer gambling is, of course, for all year round,” said Simmons. “But very good to have a focus where we encourage our customers and indeed our members to think about safer gambling, how we can encourage people to take up the tools that are available.

“So think about safer gambling. Think about deposit limits.”

Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, said that the week is an opportunity to showcase how the regulated sector supports responsible gambling.

“We know that at 0.2%, rates of problem gambling have fallen and are low by international comparisons, which is welcome news, but Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards,” said Dugher. “Safer Gambling Week is about showcasing safer gambling tools – like timeouts and deposit limits – that exist in the regulated industry to ensure that the millions of people who enjoy a regular flutter continue to do so in a safe and responsible environment.”

“It’s also, most crucially, about signposting the professional advice, support and help that is out there for anyone who may be struggling with gambling.”

Bacta, which represents amusement centres and arcades, has launched a campaign in support of the week.

“Safer Gambling Week once again allows the industry to showcase its year-round commitment to safer gambling,” said John White, CEO of Bacta. “It also brings customer focus to the tools that are available to them if they in any way feel their gambling is becoming problematic.

“Those tools continue to grow as we learn more about safer gambling and form part of our ambition to cement social responsibility at the heart of our offer to the consumer.”

Government backing

The UK government has also backed the event, hailing it as a necessary tool against problem gambling.

“We support the industry coming together to champion safer gambling and highlight the resources available to help reduce harmful gambling,” said Damian Collins, DCMS parliamentary under-secretary.
“We are working quickly to finalise details of a gambling white paper to make sure the rules governing the industry are fit for the digital age.”

Lucy Powell, shadow secretary of state for DCMS, said that she was pleased to see operators taking responsibility for levels of harmful gambling.

“The campaign is an important initiative to promote gambling awareness and to prevent problem gambling,” she said. “I welcome gambling companies taking more responsibility for this and for supporting Safer Gambling.”

Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said that the week brings the focus to customer protection.

“Any opportunity to shine a national spotlight on the importance of gambling safely and securely is important,” said Rhodes. “Safer Gambling Week provides that platform but also gives an additional chance for operators to collaborate and share best practice around how they protect their customers.

“The safety of customers should be at the heart of each and every decision operators make.”

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