RSPH calls on consumers to take igaming break

30 August 2019

The UK’s Royal Society for Public Health’s (RSPH) will encourage people to take a break from online gambling as part of its second annual 'Scroll Free September' initiative next month.

Scroll Free September primarily focuses on promoting the benefits of consumers reducing their social media usage for one month. This year it will also encourage people to cut down on time spent gambling online, with support from GambleAware and its own Bet Regret campaign.

Online gamblers that opt to join in can self-exclude through one of five plans: taking a break in or at work, in the bedroom, at social events, each evening or give it up completely for 30 days.

“Following the success of Scroll Free September last year, we are delighted to offer participants in this year’s campaign the opportunity to self-exclude from online gambling,” RSPH chief executive, Shirley Cramer, said.

“This paves an important step toward tackling gambling harm, by encouraging the public to take some time to reflect this September on their online behaviour and consider their actions, before making any decisions they may later regret.”

The move comes as the RSPH prepares to launch the Gambling Health Alliance in October. This will consist of organisations concerned with the prevention and treatment of gamblingharms.

The Alliance will look to ensure gambling, and the harms that may arise, are placed on an equal footing with other major UK public health challenges, with a focus on prevention, early intervention and increased community engagement.

“Better understanding is needed of the harms arising from gambling, who is affected and what support can be provided to prevent harms from developing or escalating in the first place,” Cramer said.

“Along with the establishment of the Gambling Health Alliance, by asking the public to use Scroll Free September as an opportunity to abstain from online gambling, we hope to place gambling harm further at the forefront of public health thinking and as a serious threat to our public’s health in its own right.”

Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, added: “We all need to take a break from our phones every now and again, particularly now that gambling is accessible anytime and anywhere.

“We’re pleased to be supporting Scroll Free September and hope it will inspire people to take a moment to think about their betting habits.”

Earlier this month, GambleAware launched the second wave of activity for its Bet Regret safer gambling campaign, with support from GVC Holdings.

The second phase of the initiative updates the tagline to "Think Twice or You’ll Bet Regret it", while remaining focused on a target audience estimated at 2.4m young men aged 16-34 who gamble regularly on sport.