Government minister and UKGC outline Safer Gambling Week support

Nigel Huddleston, minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, and Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, have confirmed the department’s and regulator’s support of Safer Gambling Week 2020.

The annual campaign, which began in 2017 to unite all sectors of the gambling industry and will take place this year from November 19-25, will see over 100,000 staff at more than 9,000 gambling venues and online sites participate.

Huddleston said: “Gambling operators have a responsibility to keep customers safe from harm. 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.”

‘Let’s Talk About Safer Gambling’ is set to remain as the strapline for Safer Gambling Week 2020 with the message lauded by supporters as research suggests that it ‘strikes the right chord with the wide and diverse range of audiences’.

McArthur commented: “We welcome the emphasis on safer gambling and it is encouraging to see operators from all sectors collaborating to raise awareness of the need to put consumer safety at the heart of everything they do.”

Led by trade associations the Betting and Gaming Council, The Bingo Association and the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, who are joined again this year by the Association of Irish Bookmakers, campaign partners and 210 official supporting organisations, the initiative aims to raise awareness of safer gambling behaviours as well as encouraging staff, customers and the wider public to discuss what it means to gamble more safely.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, explained: “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s Safer Gambling Week. We have made huge strides at the BGC in our first year in raising standards, including a requirement that at least 20 per cent of all TV and radio betting ads are safer gambling messaging, cooling off periods on gaming machines, encouraging deposit limits, new ID and age verification checks and massively increasing funding for research, education and treatment. 

“But 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 2020 artwork for promotional and messaging materials, including posters, web banners, social media collateral, contact cards and leaflets, are available for all participants.

The materials will portray six messages in an attempt to engage with audiences, with each item providing details of free and confidential contact points for further information and advice.

The key messages are:

  • Ask yourself…  have you carried on past your spending limit?
  • Just a heads up… it’s good to set yourself limits.
  • Just a heads up…  it’s easy to lose track of time when gambling.
  • Play smart…  know when to stop.
  • Remember…  friends and family are more important than gambling.
  • Remember…  gambling is not a way to make money.

John White, chief executive of bacta, added: “Safer Gambling Week gives the industry a great opportunity not only to highlight to customers the information and support that is available throughout the year, and how we help ensure they gamble more safely, but also for operators and staff to reassess what they do and how they do it in delivering safer gambling messages to customers and helping them find support should they need it.”