BGC Calls for Further Education to Combat Underage Gambling

  • BGC wants operators to collaborate on a zero-tolerance policy for underage betting and gaming
  • Youth Outreach programs were created to help individuals at-risk for problem gambling behavior
  • Introduced 'Safer Gambling Commitments' initiative in November to address concerns
school books on desk
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has responded to a University of Bristol report, which was commissioned by GambleAware, by calling for further education to combat underage gambling. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Underage gambling education

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), a newly formed trade association for the gambling industry in the United Kingdom, is calling for further education to help combat underage gambling.

working closely with the financial services sector to prevent teenagers from being able to gamble

The BGC wants to see parents and young people to be educated about the risks and illegality of underage betting. The trade association is also working closely with the financial services sector to prevent teenagers from being able to gamble.

More education needed

The BGC’s call for underage gambling education was made in response to a report released by the University of Bristol.

GambleAware commissioned the study, which claims that young people in the United Kingdom have developed patterns of gameplay, as well as habits regarding gambling by the time they turn 20. The study also found that over 50% of 17-year-olds are gambling in some manner.

The BGC stated that most young people are able to gamble without harm. Common forms of gambling among the 17-year-old age demographic include the lottery and scratch cards. The age group also takes part in gambling among friends. Each of these activities are legal in the region.

While the BGC can see that young people are gambling without harm, the group does feel that the industry needs to make a collaborative effort to have zero tolerance for betting as well as gaming among those who are underage. Members of the BGC are prohibited from allowing players under the age of 18 from taking part in gambling.

Brigid Simmonds, chair of the BGC, said: “We firmly believe that educating young people and their parents about the risks and illegality of underage betting and gaming is of the utmost importance.”

BGC efforts

Since its formation, the BGC has been working to tackle underage illegal gambling. They recently introduced new procedures regarding age verification to better ensure players are the proper age to take part in gaming. The group also created a whistle-to-whistle ban regarding gambling advertising during live sports coverage.

A Youth Outreach program is offered by the BGC, providing local hubs where individuals at-risk of problem gambling can be identified. Over 7,500 young people have taken part in the initiative.

According to Simmonds, such programs will ensure that once turning 18, young people know the risk associated with gaming and betting. They are then able to take part in an enjoyable way, in a safe and fair environment.

New approaches

BGC has been working with financial services to make sure that young people cannot complete gambling transactions while underage. Such changes would stop gambling before it can begin. Additional work by the BGC includes new technology introduced to prevent the underage from viewing gambling advertisements.

the BGC will be committing £10m ($13.4m) to an education campaign

In November, the BGC introduced an initiative titled ‘Safer Gambling Commitments’. The platform of the initiative addresses the harm that consumers and young people face via gambling.

Members of the BGC will be committing £10m ($13.4m) to an education campaign for young people and adolescents consisting of a four-year time frame.