UK Gambling Sector Embraces Responsible Gambling Week 2019

Westminster and the Union Flag
Responsible Gambling Week 2019 will take place from November 7-13.

30-second summary:

  • Responsible Gambling Week began in 2017 and has been a massive success
  • This year it will take place from November 7-13
  • This comes at a time when gambling addiction figures are on the constant rise
  • The government is taking steps to try and reduce these issues

Responsible gambling week

Responsible Gambling Week 2019 will take place from November 7-13. The 2018 event was very successful. The theme this year will be “Let’s talk about safer gambling”.

Key gambling stakeholders all over Britain have pledged their commitment for the 2019 campaign.

The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) organizes Responsible Gambling Week. This body deals with all aspects of the sector thanks to its respective member trade associations. These include the Remote Gambling Association, National Casino Forum, the Bingo Association, the British Amusement Machine Association and the Association of British Bookmakers.

Each of these groups that commits to the campaign pledges to constantly increase awareness for gambling problems. They want people to be more aware of the common warning signs and to stimulate discussions on the issue.

As everyone unites through a single message, they hope that they can reach as many people as possible.

Previous track record

Responsible Gambling Week launched in 2017. It was very successful and there was increased engagement for the 2018 iteration. More than 12,000 gambling platforms and venues took part in 2018, as well as over 120,000 workers in the UK. 

There were more than 20 million impressions across the various social media channels. Plans are being put into place to significantly beat these figures for the 2019 week.

While there is naturally a need for operators to promote awareness of problem gambling at all times of the year, having a dedicated week for the issue creates even more of a focus.

IGRG chairman John Hagan said: “Social responsibility is fundamental to the gambling industry’s approach, and we are all dedicated, year-round, to promoting safer gambling. But what makes Responsible Gambling Week special is that the whole industry is united and engaged to highlight safer gambling to a broader audience.”

Widespread addiction problems

While Responsible Gambling Week is a great idea, the UK faces significant issues around gambling addiction.

The number of people suffering from addiction is on the rise. According to the most recent figures, there are 400,000 people with gambling addiction, with as many as 2m being problem gamblers and an additional 540,000 deemed to be at risk.

Everywhere a person looks in the UK, they are inundated with ways in which to place bets, whether through online or offline facilities.

The government has taken the positive move of slashing the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals. FOBTs are a highly addictive form of gambling and people at risk people could rack up significant debts in the blink of an eye.

Despite FOBTs being a major revenue driver for the government and the operators, the maximum stake has been cut to £2 per wager from £100. This move was supposed to happen at the start of 2019, but has been delayed until October.

A number of major operators have historically been at fault in their treatment of problem gamblers. For example, 888 was fined nearly £8m in August 2017 for failing to properly protect players who had joined its self-exclusion programs.

Usually, a gambler will self-exclude from a gambling platform when they know they have a problem. This means they can no longer gamble on that platform. However, it was found that problem gamblers on 888’s self-exclusion list were still able to use other 888 offerings.

UK government taking steps

Thankfully, the UK government is aware of the issues they face with problem gambling. It has earmarked an additional £20.5bn for the National Health Service (NHS); a portion of this will go towards treating gambling addiction.

Currently only one gambling addiction treatment center exists in England. This is in London and offers a range of support options. A second clinic is opening in April in the northern city of Leeds. Many hope that other facilities of this kind will be able to open their doors in the near future.