‘Our focus is on providing the best tools to help…’ noted Luke Campbell, head of sportsbook operations at Champion Sports, highlighting the issues arising from COVID-19 and responsible gambling.

Over the last ten months, responsible and safer gambling has been more crucial than ever before due to the ongoing pandemic and the resulting lockdowns leaving problem gamblers feeling isolated.

Yet Campbell noted that given the nature of the pandemic there has been ‘much more focus’ on issues and how to ‘effectively assist customers and users alike’ and noted that ‘we’ve learned that early detection and signposting are a much more effective tool than trying to cure an existing issue’.

Commenting on what Safer Gambling Week means to him, Campbell expressed: “For us, we believe that it’s important that the gaming sector continues to be a safe and fun place to play responsibly. 

“It’s important that users know that there are various ways to access support and help should they feel that they have an issue, and we are committed to helping in any way we can. 

“We believe that safer gambling applies all year round, and though we are not running specific initiatives, we ensure that our staff are trained to the best possible standards across our business to help ensure that gaming continues to be safe for everyone. 

“In the same vein, we’re constantly improving our software to help us detect where a user may be developing issues so that we can help and assist in preventing a larger problem.”

Campbell went on to stress the importance of reaching out to people who may potentially be struggling, reaffirming to them the message that it’s ‘okay to reach out and seek help’.

“In the same way as mental health charities say ‘It’s OK not to be OK’, we want to make sure that anyone who thinks that either they’re experiencing problems or are struggling that they can reach out, that there is support available, and that the industry does care about them!” he added.

Asked on what crucial lessons the industry has learned during the last year, Campbell commented: “Early detection and assistance can help ensure that a better outcome can be achieved. 

“If you look at any press coverage around problem gaming issues, it is almost always because the issue was not detected or acted upon soon enough – we’ve learned from this, and we’re committed to providing the best tools and assistance to operators and customers.

“Speak to customers, the only way to understand a customer’s issues is to talk to them about it in order to find the best solution for their situation.”

Yet Campbell highlighted that the industry needs to ensure it keeps making sure that people can reach out and seek out all year round, not just during one specific seven-day period. 

He concluded: “Gambling is supposed to be a fun pastime and we will keep working to help customers and operators with the best tools to assist them where possible.”