With the European Championships beginning later today, focus has understandably been on the connection between gambling and football, with the airing of Ruth Davidson’s ‘Football’s Gambling Addiction’ documentary on Channel 4 kickstarting the week.
European Gaming and Betting Association
Mid-week, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) stressed that their members will adhere to their Code of Conduct on responsible advertising throughout the duration of the tournament.
The Brussels-based body, whose code applies both in the EU and the UK, launched their Code of Conduct in relation to responsible advertising in April 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic.
The EU’s ‘Audio-Visual Media Directive’ has formed a key part of the code as it relates to both protecting children and responsible messaging. The monitoring of the advertising of EGBA members will be conducted by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) backed by global broadcast analytics agency Nielsen. Both traditional and online advertising will be covered.
EGBA Secretary-General, Maarten Haijer, said: “EGBA members are committed to advertising in a socially responsible way, even more so during prominent events like the EURO 2020 football championships. EGBA’s responsible advertising code puts this commitment into action and independent third-party monitoring of the code will support both compliance and trust in the code.
“Advertising is a hot topic in many countries and the gambling sector must take more responsibility for the content and tone of its advertising. We hope gambling authorities around Europe will acknowledge the efforts made by EGBA members to raise the bar in responsible advertising standards.”
Advertising Standards Agency
In the UK, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) published their submission to the DCMS consultation as part of the 2005 Gambling Act review in which they say that the normalisation of gambling was a ‘predicted consequence’ of the original legislation.
The ASA said their role is to “prevent gambling advertising that ‘normalises’ irresponsible or potentially harmful gambling behaviour”. However, they also said that like alcohol and e-cigarettes, gambling has become normalized in a process “by which a product, service, or behaviour becomes an unremarkable feature of everyday life in current UK society”. They do accept there is a widespread view that gambling is a legitimate leisure activity though, albeit one subject to strict controls.
The ASA also admits that currently they have “limited powers on controlling the volume of gambling advertising beyond restrictions on media placements and scheduling”.
The ASA say they are also continually monitoring both shifting customer habits and new advertising platforms, examining and reviewing the existing codes on gambling advertising accordingly.
GamCare, GamBan and GAMSTOP
With the European Championships about to kick off, GamCare, GamBan and GAMSTOP have this week relaunched their #TalkBanStop campaign, with England footballer Karen Carney MBE fronting it.
This focus has partly been guided by GamCare, who expect to see “a rise in women seeking help as a result of the Euros” following a similar trend at the 2018 World Cup.
The CEO of GamCare, Anna Hemmings, said: “Gambling is increasingly accessible to women, particularly online, as it feels discrete and doesn’t involve making a special trip, for example to a betting shop.
“We want to encourage anyone worried about themselves or someone else to contact us – we can offer expert advice and arrange for them to get the support they need. We want people to feel that taking the first step, by seeking non-judgmental help from our trained advisers, is a positive move, and get the free tools and support available through #TalkBanStop.”
Meanwhile, Carney said: “Campaigns like TalkBanStop are so important in raising awareness of the free resources available to everyone out there, particularly women who have battled with gambling around sport. Ahead of the upcoming Euros, it is important we raise awareness of the support that is available.”
GambleAware had two major stories in the news this week, with the first detailing the responses to their Bet Regret responsible gambling campaign, which targeted 16-44-year-old male bettors.
53% of those with higher risk profiles showed an intention to reduce their gambling, while 17% of those polled said they were ‘tapping out’ of betting apps before placing a bet they thought they would regret.
The Bet Regret report stated: “In the absence of an ‘Are You Sure’ button on betting apps, there is a continued need to promote behavioural nudges of this kind.
“We encourage gambling operators and regulators to make their own interventions to help reduce the risks that can come from impulsive betting behaviours.”
Furthermore, 76% of those polled feel they know the risks of gambling more than they can afford, 70% said they are confident they would be able to spot the early warning signs that someone may be gambling too much, and 76% said that they know how to cut down if they desired.
Meanwhile, GambleAware have also opened a tender for a ‘residential rehabilitation programme’ aimed at helping people who are suffering from gambling-related disorders.
The specialised pilot project will address gaps in treatment, with the charity supporting it with around £1million of funding over a period of three years. It will form part of the National Gambling Treatment Service, with qualified organisations having until 16 July to apply.
GambleAware said in a statement: “Based on the existing treatment landscape we know that there are gaps in the provision of residential care to address co-occurring health needs, including mental health problems and complexities.”
Findings from the ‘Treatment Needs’ and ‘Gap Analysis’ reports, as well as statistics related to the National Gambling Treatment Service, suggest that better residential rehabilitation care is needed.
Rank Group have announced an increased focus on safer gambling, launching their new ‘Hawkeye’ system which monitors customer engagements in real-time across their online Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo brands.
The proprietary-built software addresses a primary objective for this year, which said Rank would be ‘investing significantly’ in improving customer care. This particularly relates to identifying players who are at risk, as well as better determining when interventions are needed.
They say the focus will be on “high-velocity players who show player behaviour changes, often suddenly, and who might not be picked up by existing safer gambling controls and thresholds”.
Liam Smith, Director of Customer Services at Rank, said: “We’re very aware that high-velocity play is an area of concern and that’s why we stepped up our focus on addressing this issue over the course of the last year.
“We are determined to give customers the safest possible experience with us when they play across our digital brands and the Hawkeye system adds another layer of protection to our full suite of safer gambling measures across the business.”
DraftKings Inc will participate in the AGA’s ‘Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly’ initiative, marking the first time that the campaign will be promoted through a national retail sportsbook in the US.
DraftKings will run the AGA’s campaign alongside their own ‘It’s More Fun When It’s For Fun’ responsible gambling program, including in digital marketing and on social media, as well as in all 10 of their retail locations in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and New York.
Christine Thurmond, DraftKings’ Director of Responsible Gaming, said: “We are excited to join forces with the American Gaming Association to promote their forward-thinking public service campaign, Have A Game Plan.
“Customer safety is paramount, and we are confident that implementing Have A Game Plan alongside our own responsible gaming messaging and tools will enable us to increase customer exposure to responsible gaming practices and ultimately foster safer play.”
Casey Clark, AGA senior vice president of strategic communications, said: “With more than 100 million American adults now able to legally bet on sports nationwide, it is critical to educate consumers about how to safely and responsibly bet on the sports they love.
“And bringing the Have a Game Plan campaign to DraftKings’ extensive network of sportsbooks and customers is a great way to do just that. We are thankful for their significant commitment to keeping bettors safe and educated about responsible gaming.”
Kindred have partnered with the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG) to promote the Bettor Time app, which can help identify the early signs of gambling addiction. Developed by mobile mental health specialists Zafty Intelligence, the Bettor Time app uses proprietary machine-learning software to identify unique changes in behaviour that are associated with mental health issues.
The app will initially be available on Android, with an iOS version to come.
Maris Catania, Head of Responsible Gambling and Research at Kindred Group, said: “For us promoting the Bettor Time App is a given and it is in line with our commitment of zero per cent revenue from harmful gambling by 2023. The technology behind this app with Zafty’s unique machine learning algorithms that take the recorded activity and learn each user’s normal behaviour is very interesting. This app can help users make better-informed decisions about their gambling. We are proud to promote this app and I recommend other operators to follow.”
Finally, there are a couple of interesting long reads this week – the first from Tero Päivärinta, the Head of Accounts at Mr. Gamble, on why player protection should be a concern for affiliates as well as operators while in iGamingFuture, Rasmus Kjærgaard, the CEO of Mindway AI, detailed why an individualised approach is key to tackling problem gambling. Both are excellent Friday lunchtime reads.