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Looking back on Safer Gambling Week 2023

| By Marese O'Hagan
As another Safer Gambling Week comes to a close, we look back on how the industry chose to mark this year’s edition.
Safer Gambling Week

Safer Gambling Week aims to encourage all those involved in the industry – from stakeholders to players – to be more attentive to responsible gambling practices. The initiative looks to prevent gambling harm and promote more responsible play, both online and in land-based venues.

The brainchild of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (Bacta) and the Bingo Association, Safer Gambling Week regularly sees operators and industry bodies roll out targeted responsible gaming campaigns and messaging.

Michael Dugher
Michael Dugher, CEO, Betting and Gaming Council

Having just concluded its seventh year, this year’s campaign has had more support than ever. On X (formerly known as Twitter), the Safer Gambling Week account spent the week posting reminders about tools promoting responsible play, such as deposit limits and designating break times. It also regularly promoted the National Gambling Helpline.

Industry support

As one of the organisers behind Safer Gambling Week it was no surprise to see the BGC voice its support for the initiative. Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, called the initiative a “well established annual event” and highlighted the work carried out by organisations like GamCare and Gordon Moody.

Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the GB Gambling Commission said safer gambling should be a focus “at all times” – but added that Safer Gambling Week allows the industry to pay further attention to it.

Today (20 November) the BGC announced that more than 30 cross-party parliamentarians had shown their support for the initiative. Among these were Lord Lipsey, the Labour Party peer and chair of Premier Greyhound Racing.

Lipsey recently spoke out against affordability checks, one of the Gambling Act review white paper’s most controversial proposals. He argued that they would be damaging to greyhound racing.

Promoting responsible gaming

Victoria Reed, founder, Better Change

Elsewhere, the campaign saw more cross-industry support. Betfred launched its newest campaign, entitled How Do You Keep It Fun?, at the beginning of the week. The campaign consists of four advertisements featuring Betfred customers detailing how they ensure a responsible gambling experience.

Southampton FC announced that it would be working alongside safer gambling company Better Change for the second year in a row in support of the initiative.

“Promoting safer gambling is our responsibility as a club and part of our commitment to protect fans and the community,” said Charlie Boss, chief commercial officer at Southampton FC.

“We’re really grateful to our partners and organisations like Better Change, who are helping to champion a safer future for our fans and the gambling industry, with responsible play at its heart.”

Support for players

Lebby Eyres, CEO, The Health Lottery

Over on iGB, we spoke to Victoria Reed, founder of Better Change as part of our own support for Safer Gambling Week. Reed said Better Change’s ethos revolves around knowing how and when to contact customers who require support

“It’s about seamlessly dovetailing the communications in with the commercial ones that you get, to point to where the safer gambling pages are, to make sure the right tools are available; to make sure the customer service teams have been adequately trained in how to interact with customers in a respectful way,” Reed explained.

Research commissioned by BetMGM UK found that 51% of UK gamblers surveyed view money in their betting accounts as separate to money in their bank accounts. The research questioned 1,000 UK residents who had gambled within the previous 12 months. In addition, 92% of 18-24 year olds surveyed put restrictions on their gambling.

Lebby Eyres, CEO of The Health Lottery, said the organisation would roll out safer gambling messaging on social media throughout the week, as well as directly to players.

“The Health Lottery is committed to responsible gambling and is always pleased to show its support for Safer Gambling Week,” she said. “Safer Gambling Week is a valuable opportunity to encourage everyone who gambles to take time out to think about how much time and money they spend.” 

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