Bookmakers in Safer Gambling Pledge Alongside New Council Launch

New raft of measures introduced to compliment introduction of the Betting and Gaming Council.

CEO offering a handshake

Safer gambling pledge © Pixabay.

The UK’s biggest gambling companies have announced a range of commitments aimed at reducing gambling-related harm. Ten companies have agreed to five commitments which they believe will make betting online and offline safer for the consumer.

Bookmakers including bet365, GVC and William Hill have agreed to implement measures designed to prevent under-age gambling, enhance the code of practice for advertising, increase the protection offered to consumers and promote a safer gambling culture.

The announcement of the new measures coincides with the launch of the Betting and Gaming Council which replaces the existing trade associations the Remote Gambling Association and the Association of British Bookmakers, both these associations will cease to exist and the new organisation will be led by the former CEO of Britain’s Beer & Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds.

As well as online operators bet365, Flutter Entertainment, GVC, Playtech, Rank, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill, land-based Aspers, Caesars and Genting Group will join the coalition aimed at ensuring responsible gambling was being taken seriously in the industry.

Simmonds has experience working in an industry under financial and regulatory pressure having successfully campaigned while CEO of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) to reduce beer duty and allow landlords to claim business rates relief.

BBPA chairman, Simon Emeny, called Simmonds a “force of nature” and paid tribute to the former CEO’s time while working at the BBPA, saying;

Brigid has led the organisation with confidence, sharp intellect and humour when needed, and has successfully raised the profile of the BBPA and its members with government, media and other legislative organisations. Simon Emeny, BBPA chairman.

The Betting and Gaming Council’s members have agreed to contribute £10m which will be used to fund a national education programme for children and young people to warn about the dangers of gambling addiction, these funds will be paid over four years. The companies have also committed to working with financial services industry members to block accounts held by under-18s as well as closer links with advertising bodies to restrict the exposure of children to gambling adverts. The Betting and Gaming Council have also announced they will commission and fund a report into the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ television ban that the industry agreed on while sporting events are taking place. A move that stopped the aggressive advertising of odds during games, particularly football.

A big concern to campaigners is the increasing role in recruiting sporting ‘ambassadors’ to promote gambling companies. Big-name stars such as Anthony Joshua and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among many sporting stars to represent betting firms. The Betting and Gaming Council have agreed to introduce a new Code of Conduct; they will consult with sports clubs, rights holders and advertising bodies and hope to launch this by 2020.

All members have said they will introduce ‘industry-wide standards to embed safer gambling practices including publishing a minimum set of markers of harm and interventions to identify and interact with at-risk customers’.

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