In a double quandary that may have delighted two of the country's...
Safer Gambling Weekly Round-Up by Dam Mad Media
This week, Flutter launched their Positive Impact Plan, a new sustainability blueprint focused on three core components – “Play Well”, “Work Better” and “Do More”.
Safer gambling and diversity/inclusion, as well as community initiatives and environmental impact all feature in the initiative, which is targeted at Flutter’s customers, staff and the communities where they are operational.
The safer gambling aspect is covered under “Play Well” and will see a holistic and preventative approach to problem gambling as opposed to intervening when an issue has developed. Metrics will be revealed throughout the course of 2022, with more safer gambling information and support also planned.
The aim is for Flutter to have 75% of active online customers worldwide using one or more of their Play Well tools, with over 50% using one or more tools by 2026.
Flutter CEO, Peter Jackson, said: “Our Positive Impact Plan is a comprehensive and challenging strategy which demonstrates that Flutter is setting the agenda for positive change.
“We are committed to contributing positively to our customers, colleagues and the communities in which we operate. This plan builds on the strong foundations laid by each of our divisions, leveraging our global scale and positioning us at the forefront of meaningful change.
“During 2021 we further enhanced our safer gambling measures across the Group, investing over £45 million to support and promote safe play across our global operations. Continuing to show leadership in safer gambling is critical for the sustainability of our business and I believe that the goals we are setting out today as part of our new Play Well strategy will materially enhance our global customer protections and serve as a framework for the wider industry.”
Speaking of Flutter, while discussing their 2021 results, Jackson said sustainability will be the key approach in the UK and Irish market, regardless of the outcome of the Gambling Act review. He said their aim would be to match “the concentration of revenue in-line with the UK’s tax distribution” as Flutter “has reduced its proportion of revenues generated for its top-value tier customers by over 55%” with a greater focus on recreational players.
Jackson continued: “These changes made, alongside our new safer gambling ‘Play Well’ strategy, position Flutter to deliver sustainable growth against any future regulatory changes.”
The delightful Matt Hancock is back in the news, with the Racing Post reporting that the former Health Secretary has expressed his support for the horse racing sector ahead of the Government’s forthcoming white paper review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Enhanced affordability checks have been widely mentioned, but the horse racing industry is concerned that a blanket approach will result in losses of up to £60 million.
Last year, Gambling Minister Chris Philp said that £100 deposit limits would be ‘unnecessary’, but stakeholders are worried. Hancock’s seat includes the horse racing town of Newmarket and despite being the minister who introduced the reduced stake limits for FOBTs three years ago, he has urged caution in terms of the Gambling Act review.
He said: “Representing Newmarket, you understand both sides of the equation. Firstly, the harm that problem gambling can cause – and I’ve made my stand over this in the past as regards FOBTs. On the other hand, there is the joy that horseracing can bring and gambling is a key part of that pursuit.
“For most people, gambling is an enjoyable pastime but you’ve also got to protect against those for whom it becomes a life-affecting addiction.”
Hancock also said he had spoken to Philp about the importance of a balanced approach that ensures that players are protected and racing is still supported financially through the betting levy.
He continued: “The point of the gambling review is to try and bring the legislation up into the modern age, but I made it clear to the minister that while I understand and agree with the need to protect people from problem gambling, we must not undermine the horseracing industry in doing that. It’s about striking a balance.”
GambleAware have published an invitation to tender an evaluation of their responsible gambling services. The aim is to assess GambleAware’s current programmes to see how they can be more effective and thus prevent more gamblers from becoming problem gamblers.
Much of the research will be done in the form of a questionnaire collected from GambleAware’s core audience and will pertain to their exposure and awareness of a given campaign, as well as how that campaign engages with the audience and its impact with regards to attitudes and behaviours.
The process is expected to take two years with a budget of £286,000.
Bacta, YGAM and Betknowmore UK
Staying in the UK and bacta, the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, have committed to raising standards by offering the Safer Gambling Training programme through their bactaPortal.
The programme was devised by YGAM and Betknowmore UK and is still relevant to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) requirements. Based on lived experience, there are six modules in the programme covering topics such as customer vulnerability, how to manage the welfare of customers, customer interaction, and the signposting of support services.
Chief Executive of bacta, John White, said: “YGAM and Betknowmore UK are renowned for their safer gambling training and we are proud they have chosen to make it available via the bactaPortal. This initiative is the first of many that will make the bactaPortal indispensable to arcade businesses looking to remove paper from their operations.
“Not only will we populate the bactaPortal with additional training, we will be providing a suite of tools from AV testing logs to crime alerts that will put the bactaPortal at the top of the must-haves for the sector.”
Meanwhile, YGAM’s Director of Business Development and Fundraising, Ian Shanahan, said: “We’re delighted with this commitment from bacta. It is encouraging to see an influential trade association support our work and I hope more sectors within the gambling industry continue to invest in our City and Guilds Assured Safer Gambling Training. All profits generated from our training are directed back into our charities to further support our social purpose.”
In their annual review, Gamstop have confirmed there was a significant increase in the number of registrations on their self-exclusion platform in 2021.
Comparing last year to the previous one, there has been a 28% increase in year-on-year registrations, with half of the self-excluded people in 2021 opting for the full five-year term.
Fiona Palmer, Gamstop CEO, said: “Understanding the profile of Gamstop registrants is crucial if we are to continue to ensure that we reach anybody who the Gamstop service can help.
“Registrations have remained high throughout 2021. While it is hard to gauge how associated this is to the pandemic, what is clear is that self-exclusion is an increasingly important tool for those who wish to remove the temptation of online gambling.”
Further figures suggest the number of women registering continues to increase, now hitting 75,000, with 30% of all registrants being female. Nearly half (43%) of registrants are in the 25-34 age bracket. Meanwhile, the majority (235,000 out of 257,000) who have signed up to the scheme since it was launched have kept their self-imposed ban in place.
EPIC Risk Management
On Wednesday, it was announced that EPIC Risk Management have joined forces with the Rugby Players Association (RPA), Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby in a new safer gambling initiative which will include much of the rugby pyramid of both the men’s and women’s game.
Players will be educated on the risks of problem gambling through ‘first-hand experience’, as well as where to get help and support. Anti-corruption advice will also be offered.
RPA Player Welfare Director, Richard Bryan, said: “In 2017, EPIC helped us to deliver the first gambling awareness education programme for elite athletes in the UK. To be able to build on that relationship and deliver a multi-year, in-depth programme for more players with EPIC, the RFU and PRL is a significant step.
“Research suggests that professional athletes are more likely to be problem gamblers than those in the general population and the effects can be devastating. As such, it is crucial for us to ensure that players understand the risks associated with problem gambling, as well as the support available to them.”
In the US, the Entain Foundation has released the second iteration of their responsible gambling app, Gamble Responsibly America, which offers tools, advice and assistance to people who feel they may have a problem gambling issue.
This is done in multiple languages, with the new additions including increased educational content regarding gambling-related harm as well as more tools to access support. A gambling diary and live chat functionality will also feature.
Martin Lycka, Trustee, Entain Foundation, commented: “The first version of Gamble Responsibly America was well-received and widely welcomed. We’ve since been working hard on enhancements to provide an even more comprehensive tool for maintaining responsible gambling, as well as for preventing and mitigating problems, should they occur.
“This second edition of Gamble Responsibly America underscores the helpful resources of the first edition, with more tools, more educational information, additional languages and more resources that are available anytime and anywhere.”
Moving to France and regulator L’Autorité nationale des jeux (ANJ) has introduced new guidelines to deal with the “oversaturation” of gambling advertising in 2021. Particular concerns were expressed about safer gambling messaging being “not very visible” during Euro 2020 last Summer.
The main aim of the ANJ is to reduce the intensity of gambling advertising, saying the primary purpose of advertising is to highlight to customers which operators are regulated.
Any adverts “trivialising” gambling will therefore be banned, along with “those containing unfounded statements on the chances of winning” or equating gambling to an increase in social status, or as an alternative to paid employment.
Adverts must not appeal to anyone under the age of 18, nor contain any minors, while they also must not “encourage minors to think that gambling is a natural part of their leisure [time]”. Adults who could be mistaken for minors must also not be included, nor should celebrities whose audience of under-18s is greater than 16%.
The non-binding recommendations also say that the industry should set a combined limit of three gambling ads per advertising slot on radio and TV, and three per day per site online.
It was also suggested that an ‘advertising moderator’ should be offered to players so they can choose whether to exclude or limit themselves from gambling-related advertising.
In the Netherlands, outdoor advertising and signage industry group Outreach have announced a voluntary reduction in the amount of space they will afford to gambling companies.
A maximum of 20% of the available advertising space will be given over to betting entities.
This follows a similar commitment by broadcasters to reduce the amount of gambling advertising on their media, but the debate rumbles on and the Government is likely to demand further restrictions.
Finally, over in the US, we are at the start of Problem Gambling Awareness Month and iGamingPlayer ran an interesting article on BetMGM’s GameSense initiative. The piece contains lots of advice on spotting the signs and symptoms of problem gambling, as well as some tips to prevent gambling-related harm.