Malcolm George ABB – Industry must fight for fair narrative on problem gambling

Malcolm George the Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), has stated that the industry trade body is committed to cleaning up gambling’s image but warns that the ‘frenzied debate’ on problem gambling does not help any stakeholders.

Speaking to PR-Week, George details that the UK betting industry has suffered ‘from a lack of quality debate’ and ‘media panic’ surrounding problem gambling.

Leading the ABB, George and senior staff have to counter weekly misguided and misinformed news columns, driven by hysteria-led headlines, using terms such as ‘epidemic’ to describe UK gambling’s current context.

“Where my concerns come is when, occasionally, media outlets either wilfully – or through poor journalism, an inability to do maths – come up with figures relating to the issue or supposed evidence that are wholly inaccurate.”

Entering 2018, a critical year for the UK betting, George notes that sector stakeholders have to fight for a fair PR and news narrative reflective of the industry as a business.

Taking charge, the ABB has set-up a ‘mythbusters’ section on its website, which will be further supported by betting shop reports highlighting the industry’s economic benefits, social responsibility initiatives and balanced/fair reporting with regards to problem gambling.

As ABB leader, George is aware that a number of publications will take a fixed editorial stance on gambling. However, George is adamant that for the benefit of all stakeholders and policymakers, the subject matter of problem gaming should never be driven by myths

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