UK Gambling Review
In the UK, there was an important change regarding the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, with the Conservative Minister for Media and Data, John Whittingdale, taking over the review from Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
This caused some concern amongst campaigners for gambling reform due to Whittingdale’s voting record on this issue.
Speaking to the Guardian, influential Labour MP Carolyn Harris, Chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “Given the new appointee has a history of being strongly supportive of the industry, I very much hope he will be focused on the evidence and not influenced by aggressive industry lobbying.”
Betting and Gaming Council
Conversely, the Betting and Gaming Council welcomed the appointment, with chief executive Michael Dugher saying: “I’d like to welcome John Whittingdale to his expanded role and enhanced responsibilities at DCMS. I know John well from my time in Parliament and in the music industry.
“John commands huge respect and he is a formidable politician who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge. The BGC represents the bulk of the regulated sector – from high street betting shops, casinos, online gaming and bingo – and we look forward to working with him.”
Dugher also praised Huddleston for the ‘superb job’ he had achieved in ‘challenging circumstances’, saying he always understood the importance of the betting industry to the UK economy and sport.
Staying in the UK and the Gambling Commission has said the first meeting of its new Lived Experience Advisory Panel was a success and that it will have an important voice in relation to the policies that the Commission will adopt.
The panel members met the Commission’s Experts by Experience Group for the first time this week and provided first-hand information on the consequences and experience of living with gambling harm and addiction. The Lived Experience Panel will focus on improving player safeguards when they engage with operators, while also providing feedback and recommendations to the UKGC’s advisory boards on safer gambling.
UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur said: “The establishment of this group is a great step forward for us in our work in making gambling safer and building our understanding of harm and its impacts.
“As already proven by the input of the Interim Group, the views and perspectives of Lived Experience in our decision making is invaluable and is already having a positive impact in our work in addressing gambling-related harm.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson on behalf of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel said: “The creation of this group creates a real opportunity for the voice of those with lived experience to support and influence the work of the Gambling Commission.
“We are a diverse group of people and bring a wide range of skills and personal experience of gambling harm. We take this role seriously and look forward to working together as a group to make progress in tackling gambling harm.”
On Thursday, more details were released about the #TalkBanStop campaign which sees GamCare, GamBan and GAMSTOP unite forces to promote their safer gambling tools and services.
The initiative launches in the spring, with the aim of highlighting to people the free tools available that will help them control their gambling spend, as well as the range of support services on offer.
The aim is to ‘help at-risk gamblers kick-start their recovery journeys’ as the three groups promote their services together for the first time.
The #Talk part of the initiative relates to GamCare’s free phone service, which operates 24/7 and gives vulnerable people access to trained gambling harm advisers.
The #Ban part relates to Gamban’s ‘blocking software’, which can be easily downloaded across a range of digital platforms and prevents access to all online gambling websites.
The #Stop part relates to GAMSTOP’s self-exclusion programme.
The new initiative is backed by the National Gambling Treatment service, who said: “We know that lockdown has been a troubling time for many people.
“To help people struggling to control their gambling, and their loved ones, our new campaign TalkBanStop is encouraging people to make the most of free tools and support that are available this spring.”
One piece of operator news and Casumo have boosted their commitment to responsible gambling by signing a deal with beBettor, which will see their Affordability API integrated within Casumo’s platform.
This should enable Casumo to gauge the initial affordability of their UK customers as well as build automated decisioning in relation to personalized player interaction.
The CEO of beBettor, Harry Cott said: “The beBettor team and I are delighted to be partnering with Casumo on affordability.
“We are constantly improving our affordability technology platform and are delighted to be sharing this value with Casumo through our real-time Affordability API and brand-new big data analytics tool; beBettor HQ.”
Mario Petraglia, Director of Compliance at Casumo, said: “We are really excited to partner with beBettor.
“The frictionless affordability checks beBettor provides enrich the data we already have on our customers.
“This means we can apply suitable protections for each individual checked and create personalised user experiences whilst protecting our customers from harm. As regulation evolves in the UK market, we look forward to working closely with beBettor to refine and improve our responsible gaming frameworks.”
Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust
Congratulations to the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) this week for winning four awards at the Children & Young People Now Awards.
They scooped the PHSE Education Award with GamCare for Delivery of the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, the Bronze Award for Best Use of Digital by a Charity Sector, the Silver Award for Best Digital Communications during Covid-19 and the Silver Award for Best Use of Digital by Education sector with me&you.
For Friday afternoon reading, there was a fascinating article in iGamingBusiness about the French gambling market, particularly concerning player protection and industry advertising.
The new regulator in France, L’Autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ), is particularly concerned about the practices of the French monopolies, FDJ and PMU, highlighting serious concerns. An interesting long-read for sure.
Another interesting read is the potential loophole regarding time-related indicators of harm, with the COO of Broadway Gaming, Mark Cleary, saying that the focus on affordability has shifted attention away from the drawbacks of some of the other proposals in the UK Gambling Commission’s latest consultation.
One of these relates to a lack of differentiation between different game types, which could have unintended consequences.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Andrew Morgan. Director, Broadway Gaming