The number of safer gambling messages displayed on the websites of betting operators has more than doubled in just six months since the launch of a Betting and Gaming Council Covid action plan.
The 10-pledge plan was unveiled at the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March and set out the standards expected of BGC members during the pandemic.
BGC members re-affirmed their support for the plan at the start of the second lockdown in England last month.
Top of the pledges was a commitment to increase the number of safer gambling messages on websites and directly to customers. It has now emerged that the number of those messages has increased by more than 100% since the BGC pledges were introduced.
Meanwhile, the number of individual customers receiving safer gambling messages via direct mail has increased by 150%, with the total number of direct mails which include a safer gambling message soaring from 6 million to over 11 million a month – an increase of 89%.
In addition, the number of direct interventions by operators where a player has been spending more time or money betting than they did before the pandemic has also increased by 25%.
The findings – unveiled by BGC chair Brigid Simmonds at the standards body’s AGM on December 3rd – are in addition to other measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
BGC members agreed to voluntarily remove all TV and radio gaming advertising during the Covid-19 lockdown last spring, and have subsequently agreed that at least 20 per cent of all TV and radio advertising should be safer gambling messages going forward.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said: “The Betting and Gaming Council was set up last year as a standards body committed to driving big changes across much of the regulated industry. These latest findings show that the BGC has led the way and is achieving real results on safer gambling.
“The introduction of the ten-pledge plan at the start of lockdown was further evidence of success – and our members re-affirmed their support for the pledges when the second lockdown began.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten that around 30 million people in Britain place a bet at least once a year, whether that is on the National Lottery, in betting shops, casinos or at the bingo, and the overwhelming majority do so without any problems.
“But although the Gambling Commission has found no evidence of an increase in problem gambling during lockdown, and the Government says rates of problem gambling are around 0.7% and stable, we can and must do more to tackle it and protect vulnerable and at risk customers.
“That is why we are looking forward to the Government beginning its Gambling Review so we can further improve standards, whilst ensuring that customers are not driven into the arms of the offshore illegal black market where there are no standards or safeguards”.