Safer Gambling Week Helps Increase the Use of Safer Gambling Tools on Betting Sites
The United Kingdom Betting and Gaming Council has released statistics which show that its Safer Gambling Week in October 2022 was hugely successful and was directly co-related to a significant increase of the use of safer gambling tools on its member betting sites in Ireland and the UK. Safer Gambling Week is an annual initiative in the betting and gambling sector, in which UK and Irish regulated betting sites and other betting and gaming providers and industry bodies, charities and stakeholders come together in order to encourage and promote safer and more responsible betting and gaming.
According to the analysis of Safer Gambling Week carried out by the Council, around 200,000 bettors used the deposit limit feature on UK and Irish betting sites, which represents an increase of 12.5% when compared to the same period in 2021. Out of these customers, 61% used the feature for the very first time. One of the biggest successes for the week, however, was the increased use of reality checks, which is a feature consisting of on-screen alerts that allows bettors to track the time they’ve spent betting and playing games. According to the council, the number of players using reality checks increased by 300%.
Speaking about Safer Gambling Week, Betting and Gaming Council Executive Michael Dugher said:
“These new figures show Safer Gambling Week has made a huge impact and continues to be an increasingly vital platform to successfully encourage the use of safer gambling tools in the regulated industry. […] Safer Gambling Week is further evidence of the regulated industry’s determination to keep raising standards. […] We look forward to Safer Gambling Week 2023 with renewed enthusiasm following last year’s outstanding success.”
Dugher pointed out that when the Betting and Gaming Council launched its Safer Gambling Week campaign, a number of anti-gambling lobbyists were disparaging about it and did not believe in it, stating that they want to see less gambling instead of safer gambling. However, according to the numbers, millions of bettors are now aware of the available safer gambling tools such as deposit limits and time outs, and have started using them.
Dugher added that safer gambling is an important part of the regulated betting and gaming industry, and betting sites are committed to developing and improving the ways in which customer safety could be ensured. This is in stark contrast with the unregulated, black market betting industry, where unsafe betting sites do not take any measures to ensure customer safety and do not implement any tools or social responsibility policies. He pointed out that millions of people enjoy placing bets on betting sites, or playing lotteries, bingo, or casino games, and the Council is committed to making sure that they continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner, often through using the latest developments in betting and gaming technology and with the support and co-operation of betting sites in Ireland and the UK.
Dugher added that problem gambling in the UK is only 0.2% of all gambling (not only online using betting sites), however the Betting and Gaming Council is working to reduce it further. This number is a new development as the Council recently estimated that problem gambling had dropped from 0.3% to 0.2%. This does not appear to be a significant figure at first, but it means that a third of harmful gambling practices and circumstances have been eliminated. It is also worth noting that Safer Gambling Week has had a very successful marketing campaign on Social Media. According to the Council, the campaign had over 30 million views on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which represents a 21% increase compared to 2021. This has further helped spread awareness about problem and harmful gambling and the ways to avoid it.
Safer Gambling Week, which is backed by the Government, has also attracted some sports celebrity ambassadors, including former football manager Harry Redknapp, and former Celtic footballer John Hartson. Both recorded videos in which they discussed safer gambling and shared some valuable tips and experience with bettors. The campaign was also backed by a number of politicians, including the “gambling minister” Damian Collins MP, as well as the shadow “gambling minister” Lucy Powell MP.
The gaming and betting industry enjoys the custom of over 22.5 million bettors a month, and contributes £7.1bn to the economy. Betting sites and other betting providers pay £4.2bn in tax, and the industry is responsible for over 110,000 jobs. Campaigns like Safer Gambling Weeks try to ensure that everyone who places a bet does so in a safe, responsible, and enjoyable manner. Betfree.ie supports this and all other campaigns and initiatives to reduce harmful gambling and make betting and gaming safer.