John Hagan: “Responsible Gambling Week is the biggest ever national conversation with our customers”

John Hagan

John Hagan, Chairman of the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling, looks ahead to the second annual Responsible Gambling Week, kicking off at the start of next month.

Responsible Gambling Week is taking place from November 1-7th and is an industry-wide event supported by every gambling sector. The event is in its second year and this year it is taking place across the United Kingdom and also in Ireland so it will be bigger, with a greater reach.

The purpose is to create a conversation with customers, their friends, families and the wider public about what it means to gamble responsibly and where help and support can be found if it is required.

The industry is fully supporting the event and each of the five sectors has pledged support through their trade associations. They have all made commitments to ensure we raise awareness of the week. Anyone who gambles during Responsible Gambling Week, whether online or in a physical venue, should know about the event.

The industry is doing everything it can to make the event a success by speaking with one voice, sharing common messaging. The title of the campaign is ‘Let’s Talk About Responsible Gambling’ and the objective is to raise awareness of responsible gambling tools.

The Industry Group For Responsible Gambling is organising the event, but its success will be down to the involvement of gambling operators and I am sure they will bring their flair and creativity to the campaign and maximise its visibility across their social media channels. There will be plenty of activity across every channel and at every venue.

Online customers will see pop-up advertising when they log into their accounts during Responsible Gambling Week, there will be shopfront takeovers at bookmakers, partial takeovers at arcades, messaging on electronic bingo terminals at bingo venues and casino staff will interact with customers, offering them leaflets and other information. The Jackpot Joy Group is funding a poster campaign at Underground stations in London and football clubs and racecourses are promising to display messaging to support the event, which will increase its visibility.

The industry has made huge strides in the last five years and we have seen a much greater commitment to responsible gambling, flowing from the leaders of gambling companies, which then becomes embedded in the culture of these organisations. Responsible gambling is at the heart of their business strategies and is a year-round commitment. Operators are investing more in training and sectors are beginning to share their learnings with operators in other sectors.

The week will be a success if we see operators from all sectors, going above and beyond the minimum commitments they have signed up to, throwing their collective weight behind the week, raising awareness amongst customers and sparking a big conversation.

This campaign reaches out to all customers, encouraging them to gamble responsibly and giving them the tools to do that. It is about informed consumer choice, telling customers what is available; we should remember that everybody who is a problem gambler is somebody who once did not think they had a problem.

The industry is often given a hard time in the media, but I know there is a lot of good work going on behind the scenes and this week is an opportunity for operators to have a positive conversation with customers, their families and their friends about how to gamble responsibly.

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Find out more about Responsible Gambling Week and how you can get involved here.