Leading operators commit to new safer gambling initiative

6 November 2019

Various major operators have declared their support for a new, UK-facing safer gambling initiative aimed at addressing the harm gambling can cause to consumers and young people.

‘Safer Gambling Commitments’ has been designed to support the GB Gambling Commission’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms. Measures of the scheme will focus on delivering long-term and fundamental changes in how gambling operators are run in the UK and how they empower, protect and support customers.

Aspers, bet365, Caesars, Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power Betfair), Genting, GVC (Ladbrokes and Coral), Playtech, Rank Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill are among the operators that have signed up to the scheme.

The five core commitments of the initiative are to prevent underage gambling and protect young people, increase support for treatment of gambling harm, strengthen and expand codes of practice for advertising and marketing, protect and empower our customers, and promote a culture of safer gambling.

The first Safer Gambling Commitment action is the launch of a new, four-year national programme to educate young people. This will be both developed and delivered by gambling charities GamCare and Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).

Operators will also work together to develop new codes of conduct for direct and affiliate marketing and sponsorship activities, with all commitments to be regularly reported on.

“Through the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms we have been clear on the important role for greater collaboration and partnership working across the industry, alongside robust regulatory action by us,” Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller said.

“We have been encouraged by moves across the industry in recent months to work together on player protection and hope that this programme marks another step forward by gambling companies in delivering on the ambitions in the National Strategy.”

GamCare chief executive Anna Hemmings added: ““The commitment to meet GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard and to work towards achieving our Advanced Level accreditation will drive a step-change in industry standards. We are also delighted to be working alongside YGAM to deliver our shared aspirations for youth education around gambling and the harms it can cause. 

“Education is essential in ensuring that young people understand the risks of gambling and are able to make informed decisions about their participation in these activities and think critically about them before doing so.”

News of the Safer Gambling Commitments comes as new representative body for the UK’s betting and gaming industry formally launches. The Betting and Gaming Council will represent betting shops, online gaming businesses and casinos, with the aim of ensuring an enjoyable, fair and safe betting and gaming experience for all.

Brigid Simmonds, chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “The Betting and Gaming Council welcomes these commitments from the chief executives. This is a major step towards preventing underage gambling and addressing harm.

“Working together as an industry we will create a culture of safer gambling - increasing the competency of professionals who educate young people, increasing support for treatment, strengthening and expanding codes of practice and empowering consumers.”