Thursday, 14 November 2019

Betting Shops Introduce New ‘Cooling-Off’ Measure On Gaming Machines

Gambling Addiction

A new cooling-off feature has been introduced on gambling machines in UK betting shops as part of a move to support responsible gambling.

The Betting And Gaming Council (BGC), which replaced the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) when it formed earlier this month, introduced its Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS) to UK betting shops this week.

The system uses a real-time algorithm to monitor a player’s behaviour on gambling machines and when triggered, the service will force players to take a break from the game or force them to stop for a ‘cooling-off’ period. Betting shop staff will be alerted when the service is triggered, allowing them to approach the customer with support if needed.

Brigid Simmonds OBE, the Chairman of BGC, said in a statement: “I am delighted to launch these new measures today as part of Responsible Gambling Week. The Betting and Gaming Council has as its mission statement raising standards and this technology will create an environment that promotes safer play.”

BGC Interim Chief Executive Wes Himes added: “I see this as an opportunity to champion the highest standards and share best practice on safe betting and gaming, and we hope these new measures are a sign of intent. I’m convinced that this approach can help restore public trust, and I look forward to working on further safer betting and gaming initiatives across our industry.”

The APAS is expected to help reduce the risks of gambling within the nation while also supporting the new responsible gambling commitments announced by some of the UK’s biggest gambling firms such as Flutter Entertainment, William Hill, Bet365, Aspers, Genting, and more.

Tighter Gambling Regulations

News of the new measure comes a week after a group of cross-party MPs called for an overhaul of the current online casino regulations. A report issued by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) demanded an overhaul of the current laws and regulations.

The report suggested a maximum stake limit on online slot games, restrictions on VIP accounts, the introduction of mandatory affordability checks, as well as an end to credit card use at online casinos. The group of MPs also called the UK Gambling Commission “ill-suited” to the current regulation of online gambling.

News of the report caused the shares of several major gambling firms to drop, with the companies losing a combined estimated total of around £1.2 billion. However, the announcement led the gambling firms to pledge their commitment to several new responsible gambling commitments which focus on protecting customers and providing much more support.

The news also comes amid Responsible Gambling Week 2019, during which a number of football clubs and online gambling sites voiced their support for the campaign by displaying responsible gambling messages or the campaign’s logo on football shirts, stadium screens, and on social media channels.