BGC to step up responsible gambling messaging

The Betting and Gaming Commission is set to step up its responsible gambling messaging following calls from the DCMS earlier this week.

The Betting and Gaming Commission (BGC) has committed to ensuring its members make responsible gambling messaging more prominent in advertising material after the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) called for operators to do more during the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, Nigel Huddleston, Minister for sport, tourism and heritage, wrote to the UK’s leading operators, calling for UK gambling operators to provide regular updates on player behaviour patterns during the coronavirus pandemic. Huddleston also called for operators to place a stronger emphasis on making responsible gambling messaging much more prominent in promotional material.

The BGC’s response to the DCMS’s demands

The majority of what Huddleston called for in his letter was included in the BGC’s ten-point plan for ensuring player safety during the coronavirus pandemic. However, BGC chief executive, Michael Dugher, said the standards body would work immediately with members to examine how to make responsible gambling messaging more prominent.

Dugher also said that the BGC is looking to ensure members are able to provide internal data on player’s gambling habits. The BGC executive also said operators would work quickly to implement agreed changes to VIP programmes, advertising and game design that were agreed upon by the Gambling Commission’s working groups.

In Dugher’s response to Huddleston’s letter, the BGC executive said: “We strongly welcome the proactive approach taken by you on this matter. I know from our previous conversations just how seriously the Government takes this issue and you have been steadfast in reminding the industry of the high standards you rightly expect and demand.

“I can give you 100 per cent assurance that despite the severe financial pressures the industry is under at present, our members in the regulated sector are fully committed to working with you and the Government to address all concerns on safeguarding customers.

“Whilst there has been a significant drop in total gambling with no live sport and with all betting shops, bingo halls and casinos closed, our members are already stepping up safer gambling messaging, interventions and initiatives to ensure that any customers betting online are doing so safely.”

Dugher also said that the BGC represents betting shops, online gambling, bingo and casino operators only, and suggested that the wider industry would have to be monitored during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dugher wrote: “The BGC does not represent any unlicensed, unregulated offshore operators that exist online via the black-market that may be targeting UK customers. I am sure, though, that the Government is committed to tackling the issue of problem gambling wherever it occurs, without fear of favour.”

Responsible gambling in the UK

This news comes as the UK gambling industry has placed a stronger emphasis on responsible gambling in the country. Last week, the Gambling Commission’s ban on using credit cards to fund gambling activity came into effect. The ban was announced in January by the Gambling Commission and the DCMS.

Earlier this week,  GambleAware announced a total of 956 organisations which were mostly gambling companies made voluntary donations worth a combined £10.1m. With these donations, GambleAware managed to exceed its target of £10m in donations after failing to hit the target in 2019.

Earlier this month, the Gambling Commission revealed the details of Matchbook operator Triplebet’s licence suspension, highlighting several serious regulatory failings in the areas of anti-money laundering (AML), social responsibility and due diligence check into syndicates.

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