The Health Lottery, Betfred and bacta: Safer Gambling Week

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Safer Gambling Week has officially kick started in the UK, with a wide array of stakeholders voicing support and detailing the opportunity presented by the week-long initiative.

Now in its seventh year, the Betting and Gaming Council, bacta, Lotteries Council and Bingo Association organised event officially takes place from November 13-19.

One of this quartet has highlighted the importance of the week in drawing attention to work that is undertaken across the entire year, with John White, bacta Chief Executive, reminding that “the welfare and wellbeing of our customers is paramount”.

“Our sector provides players throughout the country with responsible gambling entertainment and the initiatives that our members have in place ensures that the numbers who experience problems is at a record low level,” he said.

Among the array of operators participating in The Health Lottery, which will be distributing enhanced safer gambling messaging directly to players, as well as via social media, throughout the week. 

“…it’s an opportunity to show the wider public that the gambling sector is united”

Lebby Eyres, CEO at The Health Lottery

In addition, the group has also arranged for additional staff training in a bid to ensure that everyone in the team keeps the vulnerable firmly at the forefront.

“Safer Gambling Week is a valuable opportunity to encourage everyone who gambles to take time out to think about how much time and money they spend,” commented Lebby Eyres, CEO at The Health Lottery. 

“For those who recognise that they may have lost their way, it’s about reminding them of the tools that are available and urging them to seek help at the earliest opportunity, in order to take back control of their lives.

“As well as highlighting the vital work of the many excellent gambling support networks, it’s an opportunity to show the wider public that the gambling sector is united in its aim to provide a safe environment for people to play and have fun. We wish everyone happy and healthy play, this week and always.”

Elsewhere, Betfred tasked creative & production agency Zút to devise a focus campaign, which has subsequently been titled ‘How Do You Keep It Fun?’ 

During a series of four adverts, a wide range of people are seen promoting healthy habits, such as setting personal limits, limiting gaming session time and being aware of the frequency of their betting. 

“.the few that do not (act responsibly) generate negative press that sometimes taints the entire industry”

Felix Faulkner, Solicitor at Poppleston Allen

Joanne Whittaker, Betfred’s Chief Executive, stated: “Safer Gambling is at the very heart of our business and these new adverts are of huge importance to Betfred. Zút were the perfect partner to produce the adverts as they clearly understood what we wanted to achieve and shared a desire to make these adverts industry leading.”

On the legal front, Felix Faulkner, Solicitor at Poppleston Allen, which has a specialist betting and gaming division, noted that SGW 2023 “is perhaps more important than ever” given the review of the UK’s gambling law.

However, he is quick to acknowledge that public perception of the industry could have been dented by “some large financial penalties” being handed out by the Gambling Commission, as well as a number of “very similar rulings” issued by the Advertising Standards Authority.

“The vast majority of gambling operators in the UK market act responsibly, but the few that do not generate negative press that sometimes taints the entire industry,” Faulkner explained.

“Safer Gambling Week is a good time to urge all operators to have systems in place to ensure they stay well within the current rules and regulations.

“With a general election looming, we expect that some of the proposals in the white paper and the subsequent consultations may fall by the wayside, but we believe those related to safer gambling are the most likely to be prioritised by the current government. Specifically, these include proposals such as a gambling ombudsman and the statutory levy.”

In addition, affiliate and white label operator QiH Group has cited the importance of affiliates when it comes to safer gambling messaging, with these “the first point of contact with a gambling website” for many players.

“There is sometimes a very thin line between being compliant and non-compliant”

Andrew Lee, Group Operations Director at QiH Group

“We are fully behind this year’s Safer Gambling Week, with support for its social media campaign and also our own social media activity,” commented Andrew Lee, Group Operations Director at QiH Group.

“It’s important to remember though that it isn’t just about one week; responsible gambling should be something all companies involved in the industry are constantly thinking about. For this reason, we regularly raise awareness of the topic in weekly staff meetings throughout the year and we also make sure new staff receive adequate training in the area. 

“Compliance is embedded in the DNA of our company and we always take care not to push the boundaries in terms of our advertising. There is sometimes a very thin line between being compliant and non-compliant and we don’t want to be close to that line. 

“Affiliates have a duty to advertise responsibly and many operator partners also have specific requirements in terms of links to responsible gambling organisations, but this should be seen as a minimum and there’s no reason affiliates can’t go above and beyond that. 

“For example, at QiH Group we have made sure all of our UK sites have extended safer gambling messaging and we also regularly add responsible gambling messages to our email communications. We see such initiatives as important as a responsible affiliate working with the biggest UK operators.”