The operator is the first to make the decision in support of the Nobet364 movement.
Gambling operator Star Sports has agreed to turn its casino off for Christmas Day, EGR has revealed. The decision comes as part of the Nobet364 movement, which is campaigning for “all disordered gamblers and non-disordered gamblers alike to not bet on Christmas Day.”
Founded by former gambler Alex Macey, the Nobet364 campaign launched in November and asks operators to turn off casinos on 25 December as a “show of unity, just for one day, between operators and problem gamblers.”
Ben Keith, founder of Star Sports, said he believed turning the casino off on Christmas was “the right thing to do” following talks with campaigners. The operator is the first to make the move following the launch of Nobet364.
Alex Macey commented: “Myself and the team at nobet364 are absolutely delighted with Star Sports taking this big leap.”
“It shows they’re forward thinking and prepared to make tough choices to protect those that maybe don’t have the strength to make their own choices. We very much hope that other companies will take note and become united, just for one day.”
Macey has previously written on the issue of gambling on Christmas Day, referring to online casinos as “the sole reason for the distress and loneliness that many disordered gamblers feel on Christmas Day.”
“Having formed a close bond with many other previous disordered gamblers, it has become apparent that the Christmas period was a time of great turmoil for many, not just myself”, Macey adds.
The issue of gambling on Christmas Day has previously been raised, notably in 2004 before the 2005 Gambling Act was passed. Church and union leaders and petitioned for then-Secretary of State for Culture Tessa Jowell to exclude gambling on Christmas from the Bill, although these demands were not met.
The Nobet364 asks website states: “The question now is…will any others follow suit? We are always open to discussions, but so far, aside from Star Sports and whispers that some big players in the industry are ‘discussing’ the idea, it’s radio silence.”
Some casinos offer promotions specifically focused on the Christmas period, such as Energy Casino’s advent-style ’Christmas Calendar’ promotion. Casinos often also host Christmas-themed slot games.
Although operators have been slow to support Nobet364, the campaign has gained support from gambling consultancy Regulus Partners. The firm commented: “Nobet354 raises a number of valid concerns and warrants a positive and constructive response.”