BGC highlights support measures as Safer Gambling Week begins

As Safer Gambling Week commences, the BGC’s chief executive, Michael Dugher has declared safer gambling is the “top priority all year round”.

As Safer Gambling Week commences, the Betting and Gaming Council’s chief executive, Michael Dugher has declared safer gambling is the “top priority all year round”.

Running from November 1 – 7, Dugher also noted that the BGC’s aim for this week was to “build on the now two million people using deposit limits”.

“Safer Gambling Week is now an established annual event,” exclaimed BGC chief executive, Michael Dugher. “We know that rates of problem gambling are low and are now falling, which is great news, but Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards.

“Millions of people enjoy a flutter every year on the National Lottery, at the bingo, on sports, in casinos and gaming online – and the vast majority of them do so safely and responsibly. But one problem gambler is one too many, which is why Safer Gambling Week is so important.

“This is about building on the two million customers who now use deposit limits, and it is also about making sure that those who need help know where they can get it. We don’t want people drifting off to the unsafe, unregulated black market online.

“Safer Gambling Week brings together everyone who genuinely wants to see safer gambling including the regulator, the Government and so many cross-party MPs.

“For the regulated industry, safer gambling isn’t just an issue for one week of the year, it’s our top priority all year round.”

The campaign was launched in the wake of a UK Gambling Commission report which showed that the rate of problem gambling has fallen from 0.6 per cent to 0.3 per cent over the past year.

The study also showed that the rate of those classed as being at ‘moderate risk’ of harm fell from 1.2 per cent to 0.7 per cent in the same time frame.

Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We know that over 20 million people in the UK regularly gamble in some way and for the vast majority this is something they do without any issue. However, around 340,000 people in Britain are problem gamblers.

“With this in mind, Safer Gambling Week is the ideal opportunity for operators to demonstrate how they can raise standards and showcase how Britain can become a world-leader in making gambling as safe as possible.”

Once again, Safer Gambling Week is being supported by the BGC, the Bingo Association and bacta, the amusement machine trade association. This year’s event will see various safer gambling messages both online and in land-based venues.

It comes just two weeks after the launch of ‘Take Time To Think’, the BGC’s campaign to encourage customers to use tools like deposit limits, time-outs and self-exclusion to stay in control of their betting.

On the week, gambling minister, Chris Philip MP, stated that the annual campaign is an “important moment for the industry to come together and continue to do all it can” in preventing gambling-related harm. 

He concluded: “We need to find ways of doing more to protect those with severe gambling addiction from the life changing damage they can suffer. Our ongoing review of the Gambling Act will ensure our laws are fit for the digital age, and strike the right balance between protecting those most at risk and giving adults the freedom to choose how they gamble safely.”