Wednesday, 6 November 2019

UK Gambling Firms Commit To Five New Responsible Gambling Measures

Gambling Addiction

Several of the UK’s top gambling firms have announced their commitment to five responsible gambling measures as part of an effort to prevent the current government from imposing new, stricter regulations on the sector.

The announcement was first reported by The Guardian today (November 6) which states that chief executives from firms including Bet365, William Hill, Flutter Entertainment, the Rank Group, Aspers, Genting, Sky Betting & Gaming, and Playtech have all agreed to the new measures in the hopes of supporting the UK Gambling Commission’s commitment to reducing gambling-related harm.

According to the reports, the five new measures the gambling firms have committed to include preventing underage gambling and protecting young people, increasing support for treatment of gambling harm, strengthen and expand codes of practice for advertising and marketing, protecting and empowering customers, and promoting a culture of safer gambling.

The new measures were devised by the several gambling firms in partnership with Senet Group, a regulator founded by William Hill, Coral, Paddy Power, and Ladbrokes that works to promote responsible gambling standards and is behind BeGambleAware’s slogan “When the fun stops, stop”.

Flutter Entertainment Chief Executive Peter Jackson in a statement: “These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in their own right and also signal a genuine desire to ensure that acting responsibly is at the heart of our business.”

Brigid Simmonds OBE, the Chairman of the Betting and Gaming Council, added: “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. These are commitments that the BGC will champion and drive forward to build public and institutional trust in our industry.”

In addition to the five new measures, the firms also announced a £10 million four-year national program in partnership with GamCare and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust which focuses on educating young people. As part of the move, the charities will work with young people, their families and support workers to improve gambling awareness and promote responsible gambling.

MPs Call For New Gambling Regulations

News of the five measures come just days after a group of cross-party MPs called for an overhaul of current online gambling regulations. A report by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) urged the UK government to impose a maximum stake limit of £2 on online slot games, similarly to the betting limit imposed on fixed-odds betting terminals earlier this year.

In the report, the MPs also called for an end to credit card use at online casinos, for gambling sites to introduce mandatory affordability checks to ensure that customers do not spend more they can afford at online casinos, and for sites to implement restrictions on VIP accounts which the report claims are one of the many reasons players rack up giant debts.

The MPs also described the UK Gambling Commission as “unfit” for their purpose in regulating the online gambling industry and urged the UK government to replace the current Gambling Act 2005. In response, the UK Gambling Commission said they “disappointed” they were not given the opportunity to provide evidence ahead of the report’s publishment.

News of the report caused shares of several UK gambling firms to drop after online casino stocks were sold-off this week, causing gambling firms to lose a combined total of around £1.2 billion in value.