Proven: Safer Gambling Week Increases Use of Player Protection Tools
Figures released yesterday by the BGC confirm the resounding success of Safer Gambling Week, as data shows that more players than ever are using safer gambling tools.
The annual cross-sector initiative unites charities and stakeholders with the regulated gaming and betting industry in the UK and Ireland. Services across the board, from amusement arcades and bingo clubs to casinos and bookmakers, join forces; not only improving the visibility of responsible and safe gambling practices, but promoting the implementation of customer safeguarding tools.
With a 21 percent increase on the previous year, the Safer Gambling Week 2022 campaign generated almost 30 million impressions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, smashing previous social media records.
The data also shows a 12.5 percent increase in the number of players setting deposit limits in October 2022 versus the same time period in 2021.
Approximately 200,000 accounts set deposit limits during this time. Of those, 61% did so for the very first time.
Even more impressive, however, is the staggering 300 percent rise in the number of players utilising on-screen notifications called “reality checks” that track the punter’s active playing time.
Speaking about these uplifting findings, Michael Dugher, BGC Chief Executive, commented:
“These new figures show Safer Gambling Week has made a huge impact and continues to be an increasingly vital platform to successfully encourage the use of safer gambling tools in the regulated industry.”
It’s clear from the current data that the campaign is instrumental in empowering customers to utilise the variety of responsible gambling tools at their disposal.
With the UK Government currently in preparation to publish betting reforms, it’s no surprise that the campaign received cross-party support from Peers and senior MPs alike. Shadow DCMS Secretary Lucy Powell and Damian Collins MP (DCMS Minister responsible for betting and gaming at the time) both provided their backing for the revolutionary initiative, alongside several other members of the House of Commons.
Many prominent sporting figures also aided in promoting the campaign. These included the likes of former football manager Harry Redknapp and John Hartson, a former Celtic striker, sharing advice with customers on gambling responsibly.
However, despite the varied and vocal support, Mr Dugher goes on to elaborate that Safer Gambling Week has faced some backlash from those in the anti-gambling camp. He refuted their perspectives, stating:
“When we launched Safer Gambling Week last year, there was the usual disparagement from the usual suspects in the anti-gambling lobby who want to see less gambling not safer gambling. But millions of people do enjoy a bet – whether that’s on the lottery, sports, bingo or gaming – and even though problem gambling is very low at 0.2% according to the latest figures, it’s important our customers continue to gamble safely and responsibly. This is where technology and the regulated industry can help.”
It appears that he is correct, as the most recent evidence substantially supports his viewpoint.
Current data shows that the number of UK adults participating in the industry each month is in the region of 22.5 million, with betting mediums varying from casino visits and lotteries, to online and in-person bets with bookmakers on a huge range of events.
This latest analysis further fortifies the positive trends illustrated by the Gambling Commission, who recently found that problem gambling rates fell from 0.3 percent in 2021, to 0.2 percent, as stated by Mr Dugher. This is a significant development and testament to the importance of providing customer safeguards in combatting the devastating social impacts of problem gambling on both individual and community-wide scales.
Unfortunately, there has been an apparent rise in black market gambling in recent years. It is believed that the number of people using these sites has doubled, with the total staked amount estimated to be billions of pounds.
Speaking comparatively of regulated services and the black market, Michael Dugher said:
“Millions of customers now use safer gambling tools including deposit limits and time outs. This is a pillar of the regulated betting and gaming industry and is in marked contrast to the unsafe, unregulated and growing online gambling black market, which has none of the safeguards strictly employed by BGC members. Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards.”
In failing to provide the same safeguards as their regulated counterparts, unlicensed operators leave customers vulnerable, with the disreputable business practices of the black market creating a breeding ground for exploitation.
Furthermore, illicit operators do not contribute to the economy as a whole. Through their illegal activities, these companies avoid taxation and the number of legitimate employment opportunities they provide is few to none.
As opposed to black market services, the regulated gaming and betting industry in the UK currently provides around 110,000 jobs to the employment market. In addition, approved businesses contribute approximately £7.1bn to the economy, generating around £4.2bn in taxes per annum.
Alongside the triumphs of the regulated industry, new legislative reforms are in the works in Westminster. This could signal a step in the right direction for safer gambling practices and the BGC has come out in support of the Gambling Review raising standards.
However, the BGC is clear that any changes to industry regulations should be carefully considered, to avoid driving consumers towards questionable black market providers.
Overall, the proven positive impact of Safer Gambling Week appears to highlight an encouraging trend towards a more responsible and consumer focused betting and gaming industry.
The campaign’s incredible results show concrete evidence of the industry’s commitment to the promotion of safe gambling practices. As the usage and awareness of responsible betting tools stands at an all-time high, it appears that Safer Gambling Week is here to stay.
Asserting this, Chief Executive Michael Dugher confirmed the positive outlook at the BGC:
“We look forward to Safer Gambling Week 2023 with renewed enthusiasm following last year’s outstanding success.”
With the stage set for continued efforts towards better practices, it seems that an exciting industry-wide revolution is underway.