In Ireland, the Irish Times reported that new laws which would tighten the regulation of betting in the country have moved a step closer.
The headline changes will see the banning of free bets and ‘VIP treatments’ for particular gamblers, while a new regulatory body will also be launched in early 2022. This has been in discussion for some time through the passage of the ‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’, with the aim of updating gambling laws which currently date from 1931 and 1956.
Further changes will see the introduction of a social impact fund, paid for through a gambling levy, with the stated aim of dealing with addiction and raising awareness of gambling-related harm. A self-exclusion register will be adopted, while advertising restrictions will be significantly tightened, particularly in relation to the timing and frequency of adverts.
The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) have announced that their Founder and Chief Executive, Lee Willows, will be leaving the charity at the end of October. Helen Martin has been appointed Chief Operating Officer and has been given additional duties until a replacement for Willows is found.
YGAM have grown significantly under Willows’ stewardship, providing educational training in a number of English and Welsh schools. Youth organisations, the Metropolitan Police and Premier League football clubs are amongst their supporters. They are the first youth-dedicated education programme focused on gambling-related harm and increasing awareness of addictive behaviours.
Speaking about his decision, Willows said: “It has been a privilege to lead this amazing charity for seven incredible years. With the endless support and dedication of my co-founders Anne and Keith Evans, I have been on an extraordinary personal journey, and I feel extremely proud of what we and the staff team have achieved together.
“In 2014, I was determined to use my experiences of gambling harm to create a positive force for good and focus our efforts on evidence-led education and prevention. We have since developed a portfolio of award-winning programmes that are now helping to safeguard young people in every region of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“As YGAM is entering its third strategic cycle, the timing is right for me to step down. This is a special charity and one that has exciting plans for the future. I will always passionately support the exceptional staff team and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve next.”
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the staff team, I would like to thank Lee for the tremendous efforts and passion that he has devoted to the charity,” remarked Mike Wojcik, Chair of YGAM.
“Lee has achieved so much for this sector and has established an organisation that is making a real difference. He leaves the YGAM in the strongest position to continue our progress and achieve our mission to educate and safeguard future generations”.
Future Anthem and Gamesys have announced a collaborative effort with the stated aim of analysing the level to which player markers of harm are related to the specific games that players choose to play.
The R&D initiative is different to similar research projects, which tend to focus on player behaviour. Instead, this will try to determine whether there are correlations between player markers of harm and the particular experiences that different games provide.
The research will be published at the start of Safer Gambling Week on 1 November. There will be an accompanying webinar while the information will be free to download.
Kevin Clegg, Director of Sustainability at Gamesys, said: “We always aim to raise the bar with new technologies and approaches to improve our players’ experience. Future Anthem’s technology and approach to responsible gambling are both cutting-edge and complementary to our own. Exploring the impact of games and features on players is an area of focus that will benefit us and the wider industry which we’re very keen to support.”
Leigh Nissim, CEO and Founder of Future Anthem, said: “It’s a privilege to work with Gamesys and to collaborate closely in such an important area as responsible gambling. We all know how vital it is to both enhance and protect the player experience and, by working in partnership, we bring two highly experienced teams together to achieve great results.”
Safer Gambling Week
Speaking of Safer Gambling Week, earlier this week, the European Gaming & Betting Association detailed the webinars that they would be running from 1-5 November.
This will be the first Safer Gambling Week for the organisation, with the theme being “Fostering a Stronger Culture of Safer Gambling in Europe”. It is timed to run at the same time as more localised Safer Gambling Weeks, including those in the UK and Ireland.
Turning our attention to Sweden and Kindred Group have published their response to the Swedish Ministry of Finance’s proposals for more stringent marketing restrictions on gambling products.
Kindred say the new rules would not only hurt licensed operators, they would also reduce ad revenues for media outlets as well as deny sports clubs sponsorship monies. The move would also make it harder for licensed operators to compete against unlicensed ones.
Kindred suggest the answer is through industry cooperation, with Public Affairs Manager Pär Nygårds stating: “Instead of hanging a curtain in front of the problem and heavily restricting marketing, we want to address problem gambling through industry cooperation. This can be done by using our advanced digital skills, tools and general market understanding. The solution spells cooperation, mutual understanding and respect. Something that all concerned parties should adhere to.
“Self-regulation, industry cooperation and the use of modern digital tools to address problem gambling is also something that Kindred has been fully committed to for a long time now. It is also something we will further expand on given the opportunity.”
In a related article, Björn Fuchs, the Chief Digital Officer of Janshen-Hahnraths Group, argues that an outright ban on gambling advertising would not be productive. He stresses that stakeholders need to engage in a “real dialogue” on gambling advertising, saying it makes people aware of the legal offer and thus providing a clear public health benefit.