The recommendation comes in the same week that shares in UK gambling companies fell nearly £1.2 billion in value after the Guardian revealed that MPs had recommended curbs on online casino games worth more than £2 billion to the industry. The announcement was made the same week as the news broke.
It also follows years of criticism that betting companies have failed to take seriously the risk that some customers face as a result of the products they sell. Betting companies have come under fire for this.
The commitments represent “the most comprehensive set of measures from a wide group of leaders across the sector to support the UK Gambling Commission’s national strategy to reduce gambling harms,” according to the chief executives of ten of the most well-known gambling groups in the United Kingdom. These companies include Bet365, William Hill, and GVC, which owns Ladbrokes and Coral. [Companies such as Bet365, William Hill, and GVC] have stated that the promises reflect the “most extensive” measures taken.
The Five Commitments Are as Follows, Each of Which Will Be Monitored by an Independent Party and Subject to Public Reporting:
- Gambling should be prohibited for those under the age of 18; precautions should be taken to protect children.
- Increase funding for programmes that address the negative effects of gambling on people’s lives.
- It is recommended that advertising and marketing codes of practise be tightened and expanded.
- Ensure the safety of our customers and give them agency.
- Encourage an environment in which responsible gambling is the norm.
The commitments were devised by the betting companies, but their creation was facilitated by an organisation known as the Senet Group. This industry-funded organization’s mission statement is as follows: “raise standards in the sector, supporting the Gambling Commission’s work to make services safer and fairer, ensuring, in particular, that responsible gambling messages are communicated to players on a regular and prominent basis.”
However, the organization’s previous efforts have been criticised. Academics from the University of Warwick, for example, have argued that the organization’s slogan for responsible gambling, “When the fun stops, stop,” had no significant influence on gambling behaviour. This is because the slogan encourages gamblers to stop when the fun wears off. The organisation has given the impression that it is reconsidering the campaign’s strategy.
“These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in their own right, but they also signal a genuine desire to ensure that acting responsibly is at the heart of our businesses,” said Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter Entertainment, which owns Paddy Power and Betfair and has signed up to the pledges. “These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in and of themselves, as well as a genuine desire to ensure that responsible behaviour is at the heart of our businesses.”
GamCare and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust will implement the National Education Programme for Young People, which will be funded by a £10 million grant from the gaming industry. These two organisations will be in charge of carrying it out. The initiative will be one of the first to be publicised and will run for a total of four years.
The charitable organisations will work with young people, their families, and the adults in their lives who support them to raise awareness and comprehension of the risks associated with gambling and to encourage young people to collaborate with their families and the families of other young people. In addition, new behavioural guidelines for activities such as direct marketing, affiliate marketing, and sponsorship will be developed. These guidelines will be put in place in the near future.
Aspers, Caesars, Genting, Playtech, Rank Group, and Sky Betting & Gaming have also signed the agreements. Aspers, Caesars, and Genting are the companies that made this move, which the industry admits is an attempt to regulate itself before government restrictions are imposed.
On Monday, members of parliament from a cross-party group on gambling-related harm proposed that the same limit be applied to online slot machine games. These Members of Parliament (MPs) were active participants in the campaign that resulted in the reduction of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) stakes to £2. The falling stock prices can be attributed to the advice given.
Because Labour has already stated its support for significantly stricter gambling regulation, it is possible that the gambling industry’s wings will be clipped regardless of the outcome of the general election. This is because Labour has expressed support for significantly stricter industry regulation.