Minister praises ‘ground-breaking’ safer gambling campaign

21 February 2019

The UK Minister for Sport and Civil Society has backed a new safer gambling campaign that will launch this weekend to help remove the stigma around gambling addiction and give people more courage to say they need help.

Problem gambling funding body GambleAware’s new Bet Regret initiative aims to raise awareness of impulsive betting in order to encourage moderation and reduce gambling-related harm across the UK.

Developed as part of the Government’s Gambling Review, the campaign is being targeted a men between the ages of 16 and 34 that gamble regularly on sport, mainly online. GambleAware said the estimated audience for the project is some 2.4 million, which would make the campaign the largest of its kind.

GambleAware has said it developed the new initiative after extensive research, consultations with academic experts and focus groups with frequent bettors.

The first advert in the campaign will be broadcast during this weekend’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool on Sky Sports. GambleAware said the match is traditionally the most watched Premier League game of the season.

Mims Davies, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, has praised the work done by GambleAware, saying the new campaign could have a major impact on tackling problem gambling in the UK.

“This ground-breaking joint campaign will make people think hard about their betting habits, assist to remove the stigma around gambling addiction and give people more courage to say they need help,” Davies said. “It is crucial that we both focus on prevention as well as cure and this campaign will help to educate people to recognise risky play. I am determined to deliver more collaborative work to help to change behaviours to reduce the threat of problem gambling."

Bet Regret is being funded through additional donations to GambleAware, in line with a joint commitment by the broadcasting, advertising and gambling industries to the UK Government.

BT Sport, ITV, Channel 4, Google, and Clear Channel are among the other parties that have agreed to support the campaign, which will also run across digital and social channels.

Speaking to iGamingBusiness.com, GambleAware CEO Marc Etches said the idea of the project is to encourage people to think about their betting habits. The launch of the campaign comes as the UK Gambling Commission also announced the launch of a consultation on gambling with credit cards, with several leading credit providers vowing to play their part in minimising problem gambling.

"There are two million adults experiencing some level of harm including 340,000 problem gamblers, so we must make sure sufficient protections are in place to help those who are more vulnerable to developing a problem," Etches said.

GambleAware worked with the Safer Gambling Board during the development of the campaign. The Board comprises representatives from Public Health England, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the London South Bank University Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research and GambleAware itself.

Sian Griffiths, chair of the Safer Gambling Campaign Board, GambleAware trustee and interim deputy chair of Public Health England, said: “The Bet Regret campaign is about raising awareness of behaviours that people might not always recognise as impulsive or risky, such as betting when drunk, bored or chasing losses.

“We want people to identify with the campaign, realise they too have those kick-yourself moments when betting and reflect on their behaviours, thus preventing future ill-considered bets which are so often the pathway towards harm.”

The new campaign comes after the Government in January announced plans to commit extra funds to problem gambling treatment in the UK as part of a long-term health plan. Some £2.3bn (€2.6bn/$3.0bn) a year will be invested in mental health services, including problem gambling and gambling addiction, by 2023/24.

GambleAware was quick to praise the move, saying the long-term strategy would help it to improve the services it offers those affected by problem gambling.