UK Minister calls for more commitment to responsible gambling

11 December 2015

Tracey Crouch MP, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage in the UK, has said the country’s gambling industry must work harder to minimise gambling-related harm, claiming that “goodwill alone” will not create a more responsible market.

Speaking at the Responsible Gambling Trust’s (RGT) annual harm minimisation conference at the King's Fund in London, Crouch encouraged delegates to work with the government on responsible gambling schemes moving forward.

“There is much that we can feel good about: a united endeavour between industry, regulator and government who work together to provide a safe and fun leisure industry,” Crouch said.

“Goodwill alone however will not get us anywhere fast.

“The invaluable work of the RGT is to steer attention and resources where it can be of the most benefit in the shortest time possible.”

Crouch also praised the work of the RGT and agreed with chairman Neil Goulden that industry members should “up their game” and increase voluntary donations to the charity.

The RGT currently requests ‎that the industry donates 0.1% of gross gambling yield to help fund education, treatment and research to minimise gambling-related harm, with figures from the UK Gambling Commission showing this total should hit approximately £9 million (€12.5 million/$13.6 million) a year.

RGT chairman Goulden added: “Many operators are generous and go beyond what we ask but it is true to say a large number of operators contribute nothing and others short change the target.

“So, today, I am calling upon the trade associations, under the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling umbrella, to encourage operators to up their game in support of RGT.

“With your help, RGT has achieved a lot, but we have an ambitious agenda before us and we will need your support even more in the three years ahead.”

Meanwhile, the RGT has commissioned Sophro to complete a study of online gaming behaviour, which will investigate the causes of harm in online gambling.

Forming part of the charity’s 18-month online gaming research programme, the study will also feature input from Unibet, which will collaborate with Sophro to provide access to industry data.

Researchers will look at customer data from Unibet’s online bingo, casino, sports betting and poker products, with a final report expected next autumn.

Dr Jonathan Parke of Sophro said: “In an innovative approach to researching player data we will be using qualitative techniques to analyse real gambling behaviour; moving beyond description and towards explanatory understandings of remote gambling processes associated with harm.

“This project will contribute to the groundwork for more effective harm minimisation in remote gambling.”

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