BGC lauds COVID plan in delivering an uptick of safer gambling messaging

The Betting and Gaming Council has reported that the number of safer gambling messages displayed on the websites of betting operators has more than doubled since the launch of its COVID action plan.

In addition to documenting that the number of safer gambling messages has increased over 100 per cent, those being received by individual customers via direct mail is also shown to have risen by 150 per cent.

Moreover, the number of direct interventions by operators, where a player has been spending more time or money betting than they did before the pandemic, has also recorded a 25 per cent uptick.

The ten point pledge was first documented in March, with BGC members recently reaffirming commitment amid concern that the closure of betting shops and casinos could lead to a rise in problem gambling online.

The ten pledge plan includes an increase in safer gambling messages on websites and directly to customers, the active promotion of deposit limits and welfare checks for staff.

This is in addition to the operators’ existing pledge that at least 20 per cent of TV and radio advertisements should be safer gambling messages, which follows on from the whistle to whistle ban on TV betting ads during live sports broadcasts, and action to further prevent under-18s from seeing betting adverts online.

The standards body also says that the total number of direct mails which include a safer gambling message has soared from six million to over 11 million a month, representing an increase of 89 per cent.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, explained: “The Betting and Gaming Council was set up last year as a standards body committed to driving big changes across much of the regulated industry. These latest findings show that the BGC has led the way and is achieving real results on safer gambling.

“The introduction of the ten-pledge plan at the start of lockdown was further evidence of success, and our members re-affirmed their support for the pledges when the second lockdown began.

“It shouldn’t be forgotten that around 30 million people in Britain place a bet at least once a year, whether that is on the National Lottery, in betting shops, casinos or at the bingo, and the overwhelming majority do so without any problems.

“But although the Gambling Commission has found no evidence of an increase in problem gambling during lockdown, and the government says rates of problem gambling are around 0.7 per cent and stable, we can and must do more to tackle it and protect vulnerable and at risk customers.

 “That is why we are looking forward to the government beginning its gambling review so we can further improve standards, whilst ensuring that customers are not driven into the arms of the offshore illegal black market where there are no standards or safeguards”.