BGC pledges to maintain safer gambling momentum. Michael Dugher.

BGC announces 2021 Safer Gambling Week

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced the date for 2021 Safer Gambling Week, due to take place between 1 November and 7 November, in cooperation with the Bingo Association and Bacta.

Since its inception in 2017, the annual campaign has seen the betting and gaming industry collaborate on several safer gambling messages via online and land-based venues, to drive a nationwide conversation on responsible betting.

Despite encountering setbacks in the form of closed brick and mortar businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BGC maintains that last year’s event was a ‘huge success’.

Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, said: “As the standards body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry, the BGC is delighted to support Safer Gambling Week 2021.

“Last year’s event was a huge success despite the pandemic and, with the prospect of betting shops and casinos being open when this year’s takes place, I’m sure Safer Gambling Week 2021 will be even better.

“Our members already demonstrate their commitment to safer gambling through things like increased funding for research, education and treatment, the whistle to whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport and strict ID and age verification checks.”

The number of social media impressions, in which someone saw a post related to Safer Gambling, increased to 19 million in 2020, a 19% increase on the 2019 figure. Additionally, the number of sessions on the Safer Gamlbing Week website during the 2020 campaign was 18% higher than in 2019.

Dugher added: “During the pandemic, we have also seen the number of safer gambling messages on betting websites more than double, while direct interventions where customers have been spending more time and money betting than before COVID have increased by 25%.

“Safer Gambling Week is a great opportunity to highlight this fantastic work – and emphasises the difference between the regulated industry and the unlicensed and illegal online black market, which has none of the safeguards which are commonplace among our members.”

The BGC has also revealed that betting operators reported an increase in the number of customers using safer gambling tools – such as setting deposit limits and self-exclusion – stating that this is ‘proof of the real cut-through Safer Gambling Week has among the general population’.

Throughout the week, every arm of the regulated betting and gaming industry will come together to encourage staff, customers and the general public to raise awareness of and talk about responsible betting.

Miles Baron, CEO of The Bingo Association, remarked: “Safer Gambling Week is an important part of the bingo industry’s commitment to social responsibility and provides a useful focal point for highlighting activity and support that is available throughout the year. 

“As venue-based businesses, the sector recognises the important opportunity we have to promote safer gambling messages and engage directly with customers.”

In its official release, the BGC further outlined methods undertaken by gambling operators, such as encouraging deposit limits and time-outs and directing customers to a range of self-exclusion services.

The standards body organises Safer Gambling Week as an ‘opportunity to go even further by encouraging businesses and organisations to start a conversation’ with a variety of people related to the gambling sector, such as staff, customers and their friends and family.

John White, CEO at Bacta, commented: “Safer Gambling Week once again allows the industry to showcase its year-long commitment to safer gambling.  It also brings customer focus to the tools that are available to them if they in any way feel their gambling is becoming problematic.  

“Those tools continue to grow as we learn more about safer gambling and form part of our ambition to cement social responsibility at the heart of our offer to the consumer.”

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