Tuesday, 29 September 2020

UKGC Announces Partnership With Facebook To Reduce Gambling Adverts

UKGC Facebook

The UK Gambling Commission has announced a partnership with social media website Facebook as part of a move to reduce the number of gambling adverts on the platform.

Under the partnership, the two firms will release new guidance to guide Facebook users on how they can limit the number of gambling-related advertisements and messages they see on the website. The guidance will explain how safety settings can be adjusted to change what users see, and it will explain which safety tools can be used too.

The new guidance informs users how they can hide items from their newsfeeds and control which adds to see by using the ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ feature which allows users to hide ads from a specific advertiser.

It also informs users on how they can use the Ad Preferences tool to review advertisers they’ve seen ads from and allows users to select whether they want to see fewer ads regarding a select topic. Finally, the guidance also explains how users can control how their data is used and whether or not they can be targeted for certain attributes on their profile.

The new guidance follows the Gambling Commission’s advertising technology challenge, which was issued to the gambling industry back in April. The challenge aims to reduce the number of gambling advertisements seen by vulnerable people, including adults and children.

Speaking about the partnership in a statement, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur said: “Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is at the heart of what we do, which is why I challenged the industry to look at how they can make better use of technology to prevent gambling-related content and adverts being seen by those individuals.

“Partnering with Facebook to produce this guidance is a welcome step for us in order to offer consumers clear, practical advice, and I hope that this will help them limit the gambling-related content they see when using the platform.”

Rick Kelley, the Vice President of Global Gaming at Facebook, added: “Facebook is committed to supporting a safe and transparent environment for people to control their experiences on our platform. We’re delighted that our partnership with the Gambling Commission will help operators to implement advertising campaigns responsibly, while helping to protect the people who use our services.”

Back in 2019, the UK Gambling Commission announced a similar partnership with Twitter to launch guidance for users on that platform as part of a move to limit the number of advertisements seen on Twitter.

Protecting Gamblers Online

Over the last few years, the UK Gambling Commission, along with various campaigners and gambling companies, has been working harder than ever to better protect players. Last week, gambling charity GamCare confirmed it would be providing UK businesses with free online training throughout Safer Gambling Week 2020.

As reported by CasinoBets, GamCare hopes to break down social barriers and address gambling addiction within the workplace by providing businesses with its training modules. The charity also plans on training employees on how to identify addictive behaviour and how to start conversations on gambling addiction.

Safer Gambling Week 2020 will take place between November 19th and 25th, and aims to stimulate conversations regarding safer gambling. The initiative also aims to raise awareness of how to gamble safely and the tools that allow users to do this, and to highlight the various sources of advice and support for anyone concerned about gambling.

The news comes after the National Union of Students endorsed the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust’s Student Hub resource, a support website created for students at risk or those suffering from gambling-related harm while at university.

The Student Hub website will provide students with information and all the support needed. It also features interactive elements with case studies to highlight how gambling-related issues and their effects on people.

A spokesperson for the NUS said in a statement: From previous research conducted by NUS, we know that tens of thousands of students each year are using their loans to gamble in a bid to top up their funds, which many ending up in debt as much as £5,000 or more. With the COVID-19 crisis, even more, students are and will be struggling financially.

“Charities such as YGAM and their new Student Hub website are vital for students. It is crucial to provide advice on how to make the most of university life while avoiding the risks.”

BGC’s New Protective Measures

In addition to all of the above, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) announced this week a new code of conduct regarding the design of video slots and their special features. The new code of conduct, which will be introduced at the end of the month, include the implementation of several new limitations.

These limitations include a minimum slot spin speed of 2.5 seconds, a ban on the Turbo Play feature which allows users to speed-up their gameplay, and a ban on multi-slot play which allows users to play multiple gamers at the same time.

In addition, the BGC’s new code of conduct also requires additional mandatory checks on player activity and calls for the industry to explore different ways of labelling games so players can understand what they involve and feature.

The BGC, which has been calling for more support from the UK Government for casinos over the implementation of the recent 10 PM curfew, hopes that the new measures will help prevent gamblers from developing gambling-related harm and will help protect all customers too.

Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive of the BGC, said in a statement: “The new Game Design Code of Conduct is yet another example of our determination to address concerns head-on and meet our safer gambling commitments.

“I’m sure that our members will embrace this approach and commit to its objective of improving player safety. And as we prepare for the forthcoming Gambling Review, it is further evidence of our industry’s commitment to improving standards – unlike the completely unregulated black market.”