BGC praises COVID action plan results

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council has praised the success of its COVID action plan that was announced earlier this year.

The British gambling industry group, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), has praised the results of its coronavirus action plan and revealed that since it launched in March, the number of safer gambling messages on betting sites has more than doubled.

This comes after the BGC and its members reaffirmed their commitment to the 10-point action plan in November.

The success of the BGC’s action plan

According to the industry body, pledges from its members led to the number of safer gambling messages on gambling sites increasing by more than 100%. 

On top of this, the number of individual customers that received safer gambling messaging directly from operators jumped 150%. In total, the number of direct mails that included safer gambling messaging also grew from 6m to 11m a month, representing an 89% increase.

Direct intervention from operators where customers spent more time or money gambling than before the pandemic also increased by 25%.

The BGC’s chief executive Michael Dugher said: “The BGC was set up last year as a standards body committed to driving big changes across much of the regulated industry; these latest findings show that the BGC has led the way and is achieving real results on safer gambling.

“The introduction of the 10-pledge plan at the start of lockdown was further evidence of success – and our members re-affirmed their support for the pledges when the second lockdown began.

“Although the Gambling Commission has found no evidence of an increase in problem gambling during lockdown, and the government says rates of problem gambling are around 0.7% and stable, we can and must do more to tackle it and protect vulnerable and at risk customers.”

Dugher added: “why we are looking forward to the government beginning its Gambling Review so we can further improve standards, whilst ensuring that customers are not driven into the arms of the offshore illegal black market where there are no standards or safeguards.”

What was covered in the action plan?

The BGC’s 10-point plan, which was unveiled at the start of the UK’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown in March, set out the standards expected of BGC member organisations during the pandemic. This included increasing safer gambling messaging on sites and when in direct communication with customers.

The BGC’s 10 pledges in its plan included:

  1. Increase safer gambling messages across all sites and direct to all customers.
  2. Step up interventions if customers increase time and spend beyond normal pre-crisis patterns.
  3. Actively promote deposit limits.
  4. Action to ensure appropriate and responsible advertising including monitoring volume.
  5. Report all illegal, rogue advertising from black market online operators.
  6. One-strike-and-you’re-out policy where affiliates breach pledges.
  7. Signpost help to GAMCARE and the National Gambling Helpline and GamStop for self-exclusion.
  8. Ongoing commitment to ensuring funding for Research Education and Treatment (RET).
  9. Welfare checks and well-being help for staff.
  10. Supporting the Government’s ‘National Effort’ with volunteers and facilities

The points outlined in the action plan were in addition to the BGC’s existing pledge that at least 20% of TV and radio advertisements should be safer gambling messages.

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