TODAY marks the start of Safer Gambling Week, with the betting industry again all joining forces to support the initiative.
Safer Gambling Week sees the bookmaking industry, government and the betting regulator come together to raise awareness of safe gambling practices, the tools available to help with this and the further advice and support available to those in the community who need it.
Organised by the Betting and Gaming Council, the British Amusement Catering Trade Association and the Bingo Association, the campaign is now in its seventh year.
This year's campaign runs from November 13-19 and will see a sustained catalogue of safer gambling messages – both online and in land-based venues – with the intention of sparking a nationwide conversation about betting responsibly.
During last year's efforts in October, an incredible 200,000 accounts set deposit limits during the month, which was an increase of 12.5 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier.
Of those setting limits, a huge 61 per cent of players setting deposit limits did so for the first time.
More impressively, the number of players using active reality checks rose by a staggering 300 per cent.
These checks are on-screen alerts tracking how long customers are playing, so players don't lose track of the time they've spent in a gambling session.
Social media records related to Safer Gambling Week were also obliterated last year with a stunning 30 million impressions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – a 21 per cent increase on the year before.
Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew highlighted the measures included in the gambling white paper released earlier this year and was fully behind the initiative.
He said: “Safer Gambling Week is a good reminder of the work already underway by Government, industry and the regulator to prevent harm.
"The measures outlined in our white paper will help protect those most at risk of gambling-related harm while allowing those that choose to gamble to do so safely. We are taking action to prevent gambling addiction, improve safer gambling tools and strengthen messaging to stop people incurring potentially life-changing losses.
"We welcome the gambling industry using this week to increase uptake and awareness of this important issue."
Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, added: “Safety should be at the heart of all gambling at all times.
“But Safer Gambling Week affords the unique opportunity to draw even more attention to its importance.
“It also provides the opportunity for operators to share best practice and ensure people in Britain are provided with the safest gambling opportunities in the world.”
This week adds further emphasis and work to those already taken by regulated UK betting and gaming operators, including the promotion of deposit limits and time-outs, as well as pointing customers towards the self-exclusion services that exist.
But Safer Gambling Week provides a real opportunity to push it even further by encouraging businesses and organisations to start a conversation with – not just staff and customers – but also their own friends and family.
While roughly 22.5million adults in Britain have a bet each month, the latest NHS Health Survey show problem gambling rates in the UK are low by international standards – at 0.4 per cent of the adult population in England.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the BGC, said: “Safer Gambling Week is now a well established annual event, promoting the vital safer gambling tools only available in the regulated betting and gaming sector and signposting help to those that need it. Core to this is our commitment to empower customers with the knowledge and tools to bet safely all year round.
“We also use the week to highlight the outstanding work that third sector organisations deliver, such as GamCare who provide treatment and operate the National Gambling Helpline, Gordon Moody who provide residential treatment and YGAM who educate young people on the dangers of harmful gambling.
“The Betting and Gaming Council is committed to building on its record on safer gambling, preventing harm and supporting those who need help. Safer Gambling Week is just one of the ways the whole industry work together to do this.”
Miles Baron, Chief Executive of the Bingo Association, said: “The Bingo Association is delighted to be working alongside BACTA and The Betting and Gaming Council to once again support and promote Safer Gambling Week.”
John White, Chief Executive of Bacta, said: “SG Week provides an opportunity to highlight what the gambling sector does all year round to ensure customers can enjoy their recreational wagering safe in the knowledge that operators are there for them and their peers if things start to get out of control.”
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
Find our detailed guide on responsible gambling practices here.
For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.
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