2019 has been a significant year for responsible gambling, with various campaigns, charities and organisations being launched in support of safe gambling. From betting sites pledging their allegiance to campaigns to betting adverts being banned before the watershed, as a nation, we are moving into more responsible territory.
And, as the year draws to a close, our mission to make UK gambling safe has never been so important. Below, we take a look at some of the biggest stories from betting charities, operators and governing bodies.
Campaign for Christmas Day ‘Betting Blackout’ Launches
This month, we have seen the launch of a new campaign that could change the betting landscape indefinitely. Developed by responsible gamling brand, Nobet364, the campaign proposes a betting blackout of December 25th.
With a clear mission to rid of gambling on Christmas Day, the organisation wants “all disordered gamblers and non-disordered gamblers alike, to not bet on Christmas Day”.
While an ambitious pursuit, the proposal is gathering momentum thanks to a successful, well-executed marketing campaign.
Where none of the larger betting brands are likely to turn off their betting functionalities on December 25th, a collection of smaller casino and betting sites are choosing to get involved.
This includes Star Sports; a gambling site that wants to ‘create unity’ through its pledge.
Star Sports founder, Ben Keith, says he feels this was the “right thing to do” after speaking with campaigners.
Alex Macey, a formed addict who launched the campaign, added: “Myself and the team at nobet364 are absolutely delighted with Star Sports taking this big leap.
“It shows they’re forward thinking and prepared to make tough choices to protect those that maybe don’t have the strength to make their own choices. We very much hope that other companies will take note and become united, just for one day.’
But, why is Christmas Day the focus?
Well, according to Macey, Christmas is a time of turmoil, with not everyone singing carols around an open fire. In fact, she presses on some very personal experiences.
“As a previous sufferer of destructive and disordered gambling, the consequences of such behaviour often led me to be a solitary figure on Christmas Day, despite friends and family trying their best to involve me. The truth of the matter was that the Christmas period compounded and brought together everything that was wrong in my life, all things seemingly leading back to a lifetime battle against my gambling demons” she shares.
Bethard imposes customised deposit limits
Bethard is a betting site that has made positive moves to become a responsible gambling brand, having invested heavily in various tools and features to make their collection of online betting sites and casinos all about the fun.
Claiming to go “above and beyond” regulatory requirements in protecting players, the Scandinavian firm has now decided to launch customised deposit limits on its customers. These are betting limits that are based on an individual's income and expenditure.
The Betting and Gaming Council take a closer look at ‘VIP’ Gamblers
‘VIP’ or ‘High Roller’ gamblers are a type of gambler that many responsible gambling efforts tend to overlook. This is because many simply assume they can afford to lose money on gambling, with losses not having as large of an impact on their wellbeing than those with financial issues.
However, as part of the The Betting and Gaming Council’s (BGC) new pledge for 2020, it will introduce a code of practice around the handling of VIP players. This will include a ‘comprehensive’ series of wealth checks.
Halifax launch ‘freeze feature’ for gambling transactions
It seems it is not just the betting industry that is honing in on the subject of responsible gambling either. Earlier in the month, Halifax launched a freeze feature for gambling transactions.
Available through its app, the feature basically permits bettors to freeze debit and credit card transactions on gambling sites, giving themselves a cooling off period. As a form of self-exclusion, this feature is something we expect many banks to replicate.
Problem gambling on the decline says NHS
As mentioned, there have been many efforts being made to aid Britain back to better health, with the UK’s gambling epidemic being a public health issue. And, it seems such efforts are paying off.
According to statistics released in the NHS 2018 Health Survey, the number of problem gamblers in the UK is on the decline. Though not hugely, rates have fallen by 0.4%, illustrating the worth of recent projects and support networks being formed. These statistics do however look at the past 3 years up to 2018, meaning rates could well have continued to fall in favour of responsible gambling since.
Although a small win for the responsible gambling industry, it doesn;t take away from the fact that half of people aged 16 or older gambled at some point during 2018. One interesting fact that survey also revealed was that it is not just men that are gambling. In fact, the gender gap has closed dramatically over the past ten years, with 56% of men reporting that they had gambled against 49% of women.
Continuing to invest in gambling addiction recovery, the NHS feels we are far from where we need to be regarding gambling health.
The Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, comments:
“These new stats are a stark reminder of how common gambling is in our society and how easy it is to become addicted, particularly with the aggressive push into online gambling,” said Stevens on Tuesday.
“The NHS never stands still as health needs change, which is why we’re rolling out new specialist services to tackle mental ill health linked to gambling addiction, as part of our long-term plan.
Gambling support through BetAid
Here at BetAid, we formed this platform in support of problem gamblers, providing an online space whereby our users can search for and compare gambling support services and tools. To access these, head over to our homepage.