It has been a rather patchy week in the world of Safer Gambling, but there have some fantastic stories that have caught the eye.
GambleAware kicked off their eighth Annual Conference on Thursday, which was done virtually due to the ongoing lockdown in the United Kingdom. The three main areas of discussion were developing care pathways, innovations in treatment and assuring delivery, with attendees hearing from a range of speakers. These included Alex Norris MP, the Shadow Minister for Public Health, as well as GamCare experts and treatment providers. David Hollingsworth from the Gordon Moody Association and Steven Nyandu from Betknowmore were also on hand to provide first-hand experience of gambling-related harm.
The main thread of discussion was the need for collaboration between treatment providers, particularly with the aim to improve accessibility to gambling treatment services. This issue has only been made more acute due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made hard to reach individuals and communities much harder to reach. Furthermore, the role of inequality as a social barrier to treatment was frequently highlighted.
Introducing the conference, GambleAware Chair Kate Lampard CBE stressed the need for a “whole systems approach” if the prevention of gambling harm is to be effective. The combination of prevention messaging, routes of referral and care pathways can guarantee people receive the right treatment at the right time.
She also stressed the importance of working with those who have had lived-in experience of gambling harms as well as community and faith groups.
It was also announced that GambleAware will be publishing their new Commissioning Strategy in April, detailing how they will spend the £100m pledged by the gambling industry to aid treatment services.
YGAM and GamCare
Positive news from YGAM and GamCare was announced on Thursday too, with the first year targets for the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme having been met and exceeded.
The joint initiative is backed by the Betting and Gaming Council, with YGAM’s data highlighting that 2,906 practitioners were trained in 2020, which is above their initial target of 2,592. This meant that 184,700 young people underwent educational sessions, which is significantly above the target of 170,300.
Meanwhile, GamCare taught 4,185 professionals working with young people and hosted workshops for 3,947 young people, exceeding their training targets by nearly 3,000.
As part of this, GamCare have established a 24-hour service to support young people from across the UK who may be experiencing gambling-related issues, or who have family and friends who are suffering.
Anna Hemmings, Chief Executive of GamCare, said: “Both GamCare and YGAM believe passionately that education on the risks associated with gambling and gaming is an essential part of tackling harms for young people and increasing their digital resilience overall.
“I am particularly proud of the team considering the circumstances in which this has been achieved. The pandemic has proved a huge challenge, yet our teams have continued to deliver great engagement with professionals and young people. We’ve also developed a dedicated support service tailored to the needs of young people.
“For any young person worried about gambling, the service is free, flexible and confidential, and will ensure that each young person receives the most appropriate support for them. We’ve had overwhelming support from those we’ve trained.”
An e-learning platform has been developed by GamCare as part of their educational tools while YGAM have their ‘Parent Hub’, which provides free advice and resources for families, with the aim of protecting children from betting-related harm. Both organisers also commented on their swift move to providing resources online due to the pandemic.
“I am extremely proud of the enormous success we have already seen from the programme,” stated the Chief Executive and Founder of YGAM, Lee Willows.
“Now that the delivery is entirely digital, we have removed enormous barriers which may have prevented some individuals and organisations from taking part. The programme is reaching more communities in more regions and this fantastic progress will continue in the following years.”
The app offers a host of content to problem gamblers, including a self-care diary, exercises aimed at developing coping skills, diagnostic tests, informative articles and an emergency chatbot.
It has been developed by the same team behind the Mindspa app, who offer advice in a range of mental health areas. The Gambless app also offers content on things like emotional intelligence, loneliness, stress and jealousy, based on data which suggests a strong correlation between gambling addiction and mental health issues.
Anonymous data collected over the last eight weeks shows that 27% of their registered users came from the UK and Ireland, 24% from the US, 12% from Australia, 10% from Italy while 5% are Canadians.
UK Gambling Review
It wouldn’t be a Safer Gambling Newsletter without referring to the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act in the UK, with The Daily Telegraph reporting earlier in the week that a ban on shirt sponsorship for gambling companies is most likely.
Campaigners suggest two-thirds of the British public would back such a measure, while there is also cross-party support, but there is concern in Government that such a move would leave a ‘£110million-a-year dent’ for Premier League and Championship clubs as well as damage investment in grassroots sport.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Harms, describes the move as one of the ‘common-sense outcomes’ from the review, while the imposition of a ‘sports rights levy’ to be paid by operators to governing bodies has been ‘informally discussed’ so as to deal with the funding gap in professional sports from a curb in advertising.
Such a move had previously been thwarted by EU law, but Brexit provides an opportunity to introduce these measures.
Cross-sector organisation the Gambling Business Group (GBG) has appointed Gauselmann Group executive Steve Sharp as their new chairman.
Sharp’s role is to help and advise the GBG on important industry matters, with the reform of the Gambling Act being the number one priority.
Sharp said: “The Review is a seminal opportunity that we cannot waste. It provides a chance to re-set the gambling entertainment proposition that we are able to provide consumers set against a robust commitment to safe gambling which is at the heart of everything GBG members do.”
This comes a week after the GBG criticised the approach of the UK Gambling Commission concerning affordability checks, which was reported in this newsletter.
Speaking of customer affordability, BetBull have started cooperating with responsible gaming data firm beBettor on this very issue.
beBettor will provide BetBull with affordability data using their API, which will give automated and instant geo-affordability checks for UK customers. This will enable BetBull to adopt a more tailored approach for each player, as well as help identify people who are most at risk from financial harm and bankruptcy. The aim is to stop customers from spending beyond their means.
Scott McGregor, COO of beBettor said: “It is great for us to announce our new partnership with BetBull who are at the cutting edge of the industry today.
“We have really enjoyed working with the BetBull team who are integrating the new affordability data we provide into their next generation safer gambling frameworks.”
Finally, moving to France, and the ANJ have released full details as to what is expected from licensed operators when it comes to technical requirements and data storage.
The compliance procedures that operators must follow in relation to customer data have also been stated, which include rules on the tracking of player accounts, checking of payment thresholds, identity confirmation and the cross-referencing of addresses and further references.
‘Periodic information’ on player bet type, sport, event and final outcome must also be stored and safeguarded, as well as information concerning customers’ winning bets and bet cancellations.
The ANJ only recently started supervising the French online gambling, retail betting, horse racing and lotteries from a regulatory perspective.
Andrew Morgan, Director, Dam Mad Media