Betting and Gaming Council Announces New Technology Measures to Alert Gamblers to Harmful Play

  • New measures for UK licensed betting offices aim to protect gamblers and prevent addiction
  • New technology will first be used to alert in-store users to potentially harmful behavior
  • Forced breaks within the game will allow players a chance to “cool off”
  • National £10m gambling education program also in the cards for the newly formed BGC
close-up shot of dictionary entry "betting shop"
Players gambling in UK licensed betting offices will soon find themselves alerted to any harmful behavior as part of the new measures announced by the recently formed BGC. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Joined forces

The UK’s Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced new measures for licensed betting offices (LBOs). The newly formed representative body hopes that, through technology, it will both identify and tackle any potential problem gambling that may occur with in-store betting.

through technology, it will both identify and tackle any potential problem gambling

The various measures form part of the BGC’s new Safer Gambling Commitments initiative announced last week, which happened at the same time as the launch of the council.

The BGC was formed by the joining of forces of the previous Remote Gambling Associated and the Association of British Bookmakers. It represents 90% of British gambling operators.

Players will be alerted to harmful behavior

One of the council’s first plans will be to increase the use of technology to help gamblers become aware of their habits. This includes an Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS), which will signal to players using machines in shops when their behavior could become harmful.

The player will first see an alert on the screen, which may then prompt the customer to take a break from the game, or “cool off”. Following this, staff will be alerted, leading to an opportunity for responsible gambling interactions if or when it is called for.

BGC hopes customers will start to recognize habits and harmful behavior before they become addicted

By monitoring customer play in real time, the BGC hopes customers will start to recognize habits and harmful behavior before they become addicted.

Empowering customers

This technology-led approach will help LBOs in the “protecting and empowering customers” approach championed by the BGC.

BGC interim chief executive Wes Himes sees the new technology “as an opportunity to champion the highest standards and share best practice on safe betting and gaming, and we hope these new measures are a sign of intent.” He added that he is convinced this approach can help restore the public’s trust.

National education program to follow

Following on from the launch of the BGC, the council has also announced a national education program worth £10m ($12.8m) in the cards. The initiative will be delivered by UK anti-gambling charities GamCare and YGam.

Over the next few years, the program will target children and young people, in support of the Gambling Commission’s National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

Operators that have already added their pledge to sign up for the scheme include Ceasars, Flutter Entertainment (Paddy Power Betfair), GVC (Ladbrokes and Coral), Sky Betting & Gaming, and William Hill. Other well-known names such as bet365, Playtech, Aspers, Rank Group, and Genting are also on board.

In a statement, BGC chairman Brigid Simmonds championed the use of technology to raise customer awareness. She said, “The Betting and Gaming Council has as its mission statement raising standards and this technology will create an environment that promotes safer play.”