Entain forms Players’ Panel to encourage customer discussion on gambling-related issues

The online gambling giant has formed a Players’ Panel to encourage discussion among customers in Britain.

The online gambling giant Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, has formed a new Players’ Panel to give customers a space to discuss gambling-related issues in Britain with a variety of gambling industry stakeholders.

Entain’s creation of the Panel comes as the UK Government launched its review of the 2005 Gambling Act in December last year.

Entain’s Players’ Panel

The Player’s Panel is made up of customers from across Entain’s brands including Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala Bingo. Customers can sign up voluntarily and there is no payment required.

The Panel is intended to be a space where customers can discuss the realities of gambling. Customers will also be able to connect with industry stakeholders as well as the media and political decision-makers to share their perspectives on the industry.

The gambling giant said that this panel will help support the government’s review of the Gambling Act by allowing customers to contribute to a balanced discussion.

Entain’s corporate affairs director Grainne Hurst said: “Betting and gambling is a popular pastime for many people, yet the individuals who take part in it regularly and recreationally are rarely asked their opinion.

“At Entain we are committed to putting our customers first, and the Players’ Panel is an additional way to ensure that the voice of our regular customers, are considered in the debate about the future of our industry.”

The operator included a comment from one of its users in the announcement. Elizabeth, a t36-year-old health and safety executive from Walsall, said: “There are loads of people like me who play a little slots and bingo for fun. Until now we didn’t have any voice in the elite debate about gambling – even though it’s our hobby that’s being discussed.

“No one wants to see kids betting or people putting themselves at risk, but freedom of choice and personal responsibility are also really important. There must be more that can be done to protect people, but we have to get the right balance.”

Entain’s survey on the gambling space

The launch of the panel came alongside the publication of survey results which gathered views on key issues in the gambling space.

According to Entain’s survey, which polled 1,781 customers in July 2020, 73% of those surveyed believed that betting and gambling was a normal leisure activity, with 79% of these respondents stating that individuals should be free to choose the activities they take part in.

On top of this, 81% of respondents believe that it is down to an individual to decide whether to take part in gambling. Meanwhile, 68% of respondents believe that individual responsibility extends to how much each player should gamble.

The survey also asked respondents if individuals are best placed to decide how much they can afford to spend on gambling, the number agreeing dropped to 64%. In regard to staking limits, 71% of respondents think these should be voluntary and set by players themselves.

Looking at the threat from the unregulated market, the operators’ survey asked if customers had direct or indirect experience of gambling with unlicensed operators of which 30% of respondents said they did. On top of this, 45% of respondents said they would consider moving to an offshore operator if they were forced to provide proof of income to gamble.

Last month, the Betting and Gaming Council warned that the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act may have “unintended consequences” such as driving customers towards the unregulated online market.

The review of the Gambling Act

In December 2020, the UK government announced the launch of its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a call for evidence in December, which will look at stake and spending limits and new rules for gambling-related advertising and bonuses, as well as further protection for younger adults.

The call for evidence is set to run until 31 March 2021 and the findings will be used to inform the proposed changes to the Gambling Act.

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