The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has expressed its delight at the positive response to its COVID-19 action plan.

The council unveiled 10 pledges at the beginning of the UK’s first lockdown in March.

Since then, more gambling operators have adopted safer gambling messages than before for their websites.

Proactivity from BGC when the country re-entered lockdown 

According to the BGC, messages promoting responsible gambling online have “more than doubled” in the last half-year.

When parts of the country went back into lockdown last month, members committed to sticking by the guidelines again.

Michael Dugher, the organisation’s Chief Executive, had the following comments on the action plan’s success:

“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.”

Safer gambling messages have risen elsewhere too

New data reveals that there has been a 150% rise in the distribution of safer gambling messages to individual customers via direct mail. Overall, direct mail including a safer gambling message has also gone up by 89%. 11 million messages are sent each month, compared to 6 million previously.

Operators have also taken more responsibility in addressing excessive play time. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, instances of intervention when a user is spending too long online have risen by 25%.

Dugher also spoke about how most players in Britain enjoy gambling safely and how he is looking forward to the Gambling Act’s review.

He said:

“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 the 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”.

Gambling operators continue receiving praise for more responsible advertising 

The BGC’s praise follows the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) doing likewise in recent weeks.

In Q3, the ASA found that gambling ads on ‘kid-friendly’ sites had dropped “significantly”. Of the 127 age-restricted ads from industries such as tobacco, alcohol, e-cigarettes and foods high in fat, salt and sugar, just five were gambling-related.