Chief Executives from a number of UK betting companies have signed up to a new package of safer gambling commitments, which will place a focus on mitigating the associated risks of gambling.
The CEOs from Aspers, bet365, Caesars, Flutter Entertainment, Genting, GVC Holdings, Playtech, Rank Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill have all committed to the new set of measures which is hoped to support the UK Gambling Commission’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.
Commenting on the announcement, Peter Jackson, Chief Executive of Flutter Entertainment, said: “These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in their own right and also signal a genuine desire to ensure that acting responsibly is at the heart of our businesses.”
The five core safer gambling commitments will hope to deliver long-term and fundamental changes in how gambling companies are run in the UK and how they empower, protect and support their customers.
The commitments will include ‘preventing underage gambling and protect young people; increasing support for treatment of gambling harm; strengthening and expanding codes of practice for advertising and marketing; protecting and empowering our customers and; promoting a culture of safer gambling.’
Support for the safer gambling commitments, comes on the same day that a new representative body for the UK’s betting and gaming industry formally launches.
The Betting and Gaming Council will represent betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos, and has been established in response to calls for the industry to work together to guarantee an enjoyable, fair and safe betting and gaming experience for all.
Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, added: “The Betting and Gaming Council welcomes these commitments from the chief executives. This is a major step towards preventing underage gambling and addressing harm.
“Working together as an industry we will create a culture of safer gambling – increasing the competency of professionals who educate young people, increasing support for treatment, strengthening and expanding codes of practice and empowering consumers.
“These are commitments that the BGC will champion and drive forward to build public and institutional trust in our industry.”
As of today, GamCare and Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) will also help support a new four-year national education programme tailored towards supporting young people, families and the youth professional workforce to improve awareness and understanding of the risks associated with gambling.
Lee Willows, Founder & Chief Executive of YGAM explained: “In collaboration with GamCare we’ll deliver a national education programme to raise awareness of the risks of gambling as well as help build digital resilience among young people. The transparent way in which this programme will be reported on and evaluated is helpful to aid public understanding of its impact and further raise awareness.”
Chief Executive of GamCare, Anna Hemmings, said: “The commitment to meet GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard and to work towards achieving our Advanced Level accreditation will drive a step-change in industry standards.
“We are also delighted to be working alongside YGAM to deliver our shared aspirations for youth education around gambling and the harms it can cause. Education is essential in ensuring that young people understand the risks of gambling and are able to make informed decisions about their participation in these activities and think critically about them before doing so.”
In a bid to improve transparency and accountability, the CEOs have also committed to regular and public checks with an independent monitoring and evaluation process consistent with the best practice approach used by public bodies, including the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), HM Treasury and UK Evaluation Society.
The announcement comes off the back of a recent interim report published by the Gambling Related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which has called for further action from the Government and the UKGC to combat problem gambling.
The cross-party group argued that there is no justification for online slot games to have stake levels above the £2 limit which is currently in place across retail venues, with the APPG highlighting ‘the disparity in content controls and stake and deposit limits between online and offline games.’
Showing his support for the new commitments, Tim Miller, Executive Director of the UKGC, concluded: “Through the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms we have been clear on the important role for greater collaboration and partnership working across the industry, alongside robust regulatory action by us.
“We have been encouraged by moves across the industry in recent months to work together on player protection and hope that this programme marks another step forward by gambling companies in delivering on the ambitions in the National Strategy.”