GambleAware criticises industry over safe gambling strategies

4 October 2017

The GambleAware charity has hit out at gambling companies in the UK for failing to implement effective strategies regarding responsible gambling.

In a report made public today (Wednesday), GambleAware said operators are “poor” at giving staff suitable training in how to promote safe gambling amongst customers.

The charity also said that existing responsible gambling messages sent out by operators are often “confusing and unclear”.

GambleAware carried out the research in partnership with Revealing Reality and at the request of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG), which this week also updated the Industry Code for Socially Responsible Advertising.

In its critique of staff, GambleAware said many employees do not have practical training in how to promote responsible gambling in their day-to-day jobs.

The charity also said few staff had the confidence to “communicate effectively with customers how to minimise the risks of gambling”, while some could inadvertently encourage customers to “chase their losses”.

GambleAware also found that only a minority of operators are developing new responsible gambling messages, with the research identifying a need for more creativity and investment into this area.

Customers said the amount of promotional and commercial content conflicts with messages about responsible gambling, while operators have challenged new responsible gambling material as “too costly” or “risky”.

Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware said: “This is a loud wake-up call to the gambling industry; the voices in this report crystallise the challenge of delivering effective social responsibility on the front-line.

“Frankly, the gambling industry must do much better to ensure staff and customers know when, how and where to seek help.

“This report shows where the gaps are; significant investment of time and effort is needed to protect players better from gambling-related harm in the first place.”

John Hagan, chairman of the IGRG, added: “The gambling industry is working tirelessly to promote responsible gambling, and it was industry recognition of the importance of raising standards of messaging and training which led to the commissioning of this report.

“We welcome the fresh and creative thinking of Revealing Reality and we look forward to the next stage when the best of their ideas will be trialled by industry in live environments.”

Related article: IGRG enhances socially responsible advertising code