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BGC: Safer Gambling Week will be a success despite lockdowns

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Michael Dugher, chief executive of British industry body the Betting and Gaming Council, said lockdowns would not diminish the impact of Safer Gambling Week, which begins today (19 November).
Michael Dugher

While many retail facilities are closed due to lockdowns to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), online operators and locations which are open will make efforts to promote safer gambling.

The BGC said the week would see operators starting conversations with customers about the help that is available, as well as promoting spend or time limits. Online operators will display these messages in banner ads or pop ups, while land-based premises will display safer gambling messages in their windows and – if they are open – offer leaflets about help and support for customers.

BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said the lockdown would not diminish the week, as the safer gambling is a year-round, rather than week-long project.

“The various lockdowns across the UK will inevitably mean that Safer Gambling Week 2020 will be different from those which have gone before, but its central theme remains as important as ever and will still be heard loud and clear,” he said.

“Safer Gambling Week is incredibly important, but safer gambling should not be seen by anyone as simply something we support for one week of the year – it is a commitment for every week of the year.”

While he pointed out that the majority of those who gamble do not have a problem with their play, Dugher said the week was important as any level of problem gambling must be tackled.

“Some 30 million people in Britain enjoy a flutter every year – whether that’s in betting shops, casinos, playing bingo, betting and gaming online or on the National Lottery – and the vast majority do so perfectly safely,” Dugher said. “However, one problem gambler is one too many, which is why we are delighted to support Safer Gambling Week.”

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston, meanwhile, said he was pleased to see the entire industry working together to promote safer gambling.

“Gambling operators have a responsibility to keep customers safe from harm,” Huddleston said. “I’m pleased that the industry is coming together to recognise the importance of clear and consistent safer gambling messaging and to help those who need it find support.”

With the Government expected to announce its review of the Gambling Act soon, Dugher pointed to the BGC’s efforts to increase standards in the British gambling industry, but set the group would continue to work to make gambling safer.

“We are eager to go further – and look forward to working with the Government on the Gambling Review to introduce further changes that ensure that the millions of people who enjoy an occasional flutter do so enjoyably and safely.”

Safer gambling week takes place from today until 25 November. This year’s edition is the first under the current name, after it was rebranded from Responsible Gambling Week.

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