It has been an incredibly busy week in Safer Gambling news so let’s get cracking.
The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that a proposed mandatory soft affordability cap will not be forwarded from their 2020 remote customer interaction consultation. Instead, the Commission has identified three key risks which must be urgently addressed – significant losses in a very short time, significant losses over time and financial vulnerability.
iGamingFuture published their full statement on Tuesday, which can be found if you follow the link.
On Tuesday, GambleAware issued new interactive maps, with the aim of logging both the take-up and reported demand for gambling-harm-related treatment and support services across the UK. Highlighting geographical discrepancies from their annual GB treatment and support survey, GambleAware hopes to encourage local authorities in areas with high demand to do more to promote the help available through the National Gambling Treatment Service.
Alison Clare, Research, Information and Knowledge Director at GambleAware, said: “We want to assist local authorities and services in delivering the best possible treatment and support for gambling harms in their area. These new interactive maps can be used to identify shortfalls between treatment and support services and prevalence of gambling participation and harms, which can be used to inform local responses. The existing support available through the National Gambling Treatment Service can be used to help address these shortfalls.”
GamCare has called for financial institutions and businesses in the UK to work together to ensure all loopholes in ‘gambling block’ tools are closed so vulnerable customers are better protected.
The call came from their ‘Gambling Related Financial Harm’ workshop, where a number of financial stakeholders shared their perspectives on the design and safety features employed by the gambling block tools used by banks. The 45 representatives were also given feedback from victims with lived experience of gambling-related harm, specifically relating to how they can get around the blocks.
Concerns over the rise in the use of ‘non-card transactions’ such as e-wallets, which facilitate faster payments, were highlighted, with the conference concluding that these too should have gambling blocks.
Raminta Diliso, Financial Harm Manager at GamCare, said: “We’re pleased that so many organisations have shown interest in this issue and we would like to see a collaborative cross-sector response to drive through a number of additional changes to further protect people from gambling-related harm.
“Year on year, around 70% of callers to our National Gambling Helpline mention some level of gambling debt and financial hardship. For those trying to stop gambling, banking blocks offer an invaluable layer of protection, but people that use our services have reported that they have managed to circumvent the blocks.”
Gambling with Lives
Gambling with Lives has introduced a new ‘treatment and support system’ which sees former victims of gambling-related harm collaborate with health experts to tackle such disorders based on their own personal experiences.
The aim is to address and remove the sense of judgement and lack of understanding that victims of gambling-related harm have faced when accessing mainstream health services. The project was commissioned as part of Gambling with Lives’ wider aim of preventing gambling-related suicide.
The co-founder of Gambling with Lives, Liz Ritchie, said: “It is essential that people harmed by gambling are at the forefront of designing care and treatment for gambling disorder. We know how few people access treatment, how few feel helped, and this design for a care and treatment pathway aims to redress this.”
YGAM and Betknowmore
YGAM and Betknowmore have joined forces to offer a bespoke training programme for Merkur UK. The City & Guilds assured modules are in line with the Gambling Commission’s latest LCCP requirements on standards of customer care as well as their guidelines on ensuring the protection of customers.
Mark Schertle, Chief Operating Officer of Merkur UK, said: “The training managed perfectly to fit a topic as important as this into a two-day course, whilst keeping it interesting and engaging. Especially adding real-life stories into the course to make it tangible and relevant.
“The content will ensure we keep safer gambling at the forefront of everything that we do. As always we are immensely proud of our team here at Merkur and the way that they take their responsibilities seriously.”
Later in the week, Ben Davies, the Head of Safer Gambling Partnerships at Betknowmore UK, spoke more about their collaboration with YGAM, highlighting the importance of learning from lived-in experience and why improving the education of all industry stakeholders is key. He also said lived-in experience can expose the complicated and nuanced reasons behind gambling-related harm.
He concluded: “There is a strong case for including lived experience in your safer gambling training. It can have a positive effect on the mental health of your employees, build their confidence, and make them feel better empowered to make positive interventions.
“By spotting the early signs of harm, your team are better able to keep your customers safe – and ensure their working environment is knowledgeable, empathetic, and positive.”
Moving over to the US and DraftKings Inc have donated to the Fund to Support Research on Sports Wagering, an initiative launched by the International Center for Responsible Gaming with the aim of promoting responsible gambling specifically in the sports betting sector.
It is hoped that the fund can help produce peer-reviewed scientific research related to the application and understanding of responsible gaming in the industry. The monies will enable the ICRG to proceed with a competitive request for applications from global researchers who are interested in this field.
The Executive Director of the ICRG, Dr Russell Sanna, said: “We are incredibly honoured to have DraftKings’ financial support, which was instrumental in satisfying our funding needs for the Fund to Support Research on Sports Wagering.
“With the expansion of sports betting across the United States, public health research will be critical in better understanding problem gaming, and we are deeply appreciative of the support from DraftKings to fund research that is cutting-edge and can be utilized across the industry and by consumers.”
Meanwhile, DraftKings’ Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Jason Robins, said: “The cornerstone of our commitment to customers is providing an enjoyable sports betting and gaming experience, and we recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that customers are playing safely.
“We are pleased to support the critical mission of the International Center for Responsible Gaming and fund important research that will drive responsible gaming innovation and customer safety forward for the entire industry.”
International Gaming Institute of UNLV
The importance of promoting gambling responsibly is increasing traction in the US, with a recent report from the International Gaming Institute of UNLV stressing this very point. GGB News has published a very interesting long read on this issue, which highlights there is still a long way to go.
Gambling Act Reform
Back to the UK and the 2005 Gambling Act reform is never far from the news and the chairman of the EFL, Rick Parry, was writing in The Times this week stressing the need to consider the effect on lower league clubs that any potential changes to the law could bring.
Future of Responsible Gaming Roundtable
Finally, we’d like to remind you of the iGamingFuture virtual roundtable that took place earlier in May. Entitled ‘The Future of Responsible Gaming’, Ian Tannock (Head of Responsible Gaming at BetBull), Heather Mckee (Head of Compliance at Gamesys), Rasmus Kjaergaard (CEO of Mindway AI), Mathew Curtis (Head of Responsible Gaming at L&L Europe) and Kerry Swainson (Head of Compliance at Lottoland) discussed the UK Gambling Act review and the need for stronger player protection. We definitely think you should check it out.