Welcome along to another Safer Gambling Newsletter in a week where things have been bubbling away.
The English Premier League season began last Friday and GambleAware have relaunched their ‘Bet Regret’ campaign both at football stadiums and across the British media.
Their target audience is male football supporters in the 18-34 age range – a group deemed most vulnerable due to the formation of impulsive behaviours. The campaign launched three seasons ago and formed part of GambleAware’s first nationwide advertising campaign that focused on raising public awareness of the compulsive traits of problem gambling.
Twelve months ago, they introduced the ‘Tap Out’ tagline, which urged punters to ‘take-a-moment and think’ before wagering. GambleAware say the Bet Regret campaign has ‘consistently delivered high levels of awareness’, with recognition on average at over ‘60% amongst the broader target audience, rising to 75% amongst those in the highest risk band’.
The ‘tap out’ campaign has also been a success, with 38% of the target audience saying they had tapped out before betting and 17% saying they use the technique as a way of reducing their gambling.
Speaking about the relaunch, the Chief Executive of GambleAware, Zoë Osmond, said: “With the start of the football season and fans returning to stadiums, we must do all we can to encourage people to pause and consider before making a bet. With all public health campaigns, the biggest challenge is translating awareness and intentions into actions, which is why there is a continued need to promote behavioural nudges, such as ‘tap out’.
“So far, we have seen promising results from the campaign to date, with more people recognising and using ‘tapping out’ as a technique to moderate their betting.”
Staying with GambleAware and this week they pledged £4million to fund the UK’s first ‘Academic Research Hub’, which aims to investigate societal impacts in relation to gambling harm.
It will be GambleAware’s biggest academic commitment so far, and they are looking for a single institution to help launch and develop the hub. Public health will be its primary focus, while the aim is also to broaden the number of academic disciplines which study gambling harms. At present, it’s largely just social science that focuses on the topic.
GambleAware said in a statement: “The ambition is for the Academic Research Hub to have a significant impact on the whole gambling landscape, both within Great Britain and across the globe, through the inclusion of new and diverse areas of research.”
Alison Clare, Research Director at GambleAware, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a British university to develop and innovate in a relatively under-researched field, bringing to bear a much wider range of academic disciplines than are currently engaged in gambling harms research.
“With this significant investment, a British university and its partners will have the chance to create a step-change in building knowledge in an area which links and overlaps with many other subjects and fields.”
GamCare announced this week that they have launched a pilot initiative which will see some users be connected with debt advice specialists trained by PayPlan.
The scheme kicked off through the Leeds Community Gambling Service (LCGS) last Monday, 9 August. PayPlan has trained LCGS practitioners so that they can provide important information on debt advice, while GamCare has trained PayPlan’s staff on how gambling can affect people’s finances along with other aspects of their support network.
GambleAware has previously highlighted the importance of debt advice, saying that 66% of those who use their treatment services have some issues with debt, with 80% admitting they have been impacted by financial hardships.
PayPlan has been operating for nearly 30 years and act as an independent debt-advice organisation that offers support to UK charities, communities, businesses and government institutions on issues around debt management.
Moving to Australia and after we published last week’s newsletter, it was announced that the main gambling companies there have dropped their opposition to proposals by federal lawmakers to introduce a ban on online gambling with credit cards.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the likes of bet365, Sportsbet and Ladbrokes had made a U-turn on the proposals, while lottery operator Tabcorp announced their about-turn last month.
Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA), who represent some of Australia’s largest betting firms, have also now agreed to support the reform after initially standing with their member companies. There is still some opposition to the ban though, based on the view that banning credit card betting could limit choice and thus push people towards black market sites.
However, the Liberal Party House of Representatives member for the District of Fisher, Andrew Wallace MP, has argued in favour of the ban.
Speaking in February, he said: “We know that people pay 22% or thereabouts in interest on their credit card balances – that’s a very dangerous mix.
“You can’t use a credit card to go into a TAB and gamble on the horses or the dogs, you can’t use a credit card at a casino, and you can’t use a credit card to gamble on the pokies.”
In Europe, John Coates (the joint CEO of bet365), Jesper Svensson (Betsson AB), Jette Nygaard-Andersen (Entain Plc), Henrik Tjärnström, (Kindred Group) and Patrick Jonker (MD of William Hill International) have all co-signed a letter outlining their ‘collective ambitions’ on the development of a stronger culture that supports safer gambling across all European markets.
Published by the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) – the trade body which represents online gambling at the EU level – the letter reads: “We believe that, as leading companies of Europe’s online gambling sector, we have a responsibility to take the lead in fostering a stronger culture of safer gambling across our sector and promoting a more sustainable future.”
They went on to say: “We believe that we are witnessing a monumental shift in this regard, as game-changing technology is allowing us to detect the subtle changes in behaviours which may suggest a customer is experiencing or is at risk of gambling harm.”
With both good conduct and sustainability becoming increasingly important, the five CEOs have agreed to publish a combined European sustainability report through the EGBA. The five also said their companies were at the forefront of ‘raising the bar on safer gambling’ requirements highlighting the tools, monitoring systems and predictive modelling used to monitor unsafe gambling practices.
They also highlighted how, during the pandemic, they had taken “several actions to strengthen the protection of our players and the responsibility of our advertising during this time”.
By publishing reports, the five CEOs say their aim is to ‘set the highest bar tracking’ the industry’s progress towards sustainability. They also say they are open to dialogue with both regulators and national stakeholders in regards to the issue of safer gambling.
They continued: “This is the spirit in which we unite in EGBA: leading the way in driving standards upwards, being open and transparent about our work and creating a virtuous and testing dynamic across the entire online gambling sector.
“This spirit has also driven us to develop this annual sustainability report, as we are committed to challenging the status quo, set a high bar in protecting consumers, and continuously track our progress.
“Transparency, accountability, and collaboration are at the core of this approach as we aim to encourage all willing operators to join us on this journey, in a race to the top in terms of consumer protection.”