Gambling Commission announced the formation of three industry working groups to tackle key challenges as part of a drive to make gambling safer.
The first-of-its kind initiative follows a briefing to industry leaders in October from the Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur in which he laid down three challenges and opportunities that the industry must grasp to raise standards and reduce harm across the sector.
The three working groups are, in more detail:
Safer products: The industry code for responsible product and game design working group will set out how the gambling industry can produce safer products in the future, the techniques to use when designing apps, online games and gaming machine products, the risks associated with each product and how they can be mitigated, and a clear explanation of what is not acceptable.
Safer advertising online: An interim report by Gamble Aware from earlier this year shows that children, young people and vulnerable adults report they are being exposed to significant levels of online gambling adverts - including via social media. The Advertising Technology challenge will therefore explore and quickly accelerate opportunities to reduce the amount of advertising seen by children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Use of VIP incentives: The incentivisation of high value customers working group will help ensure bonuses, hospitality and gifts in particular around VIP programmes, are offered in a manner which is consistent with the licensing objectives to make gambling fairer, safer and crimefree. The Commission’s casework has found evidence that the approach of some licensees has exacerbated at-risk behaviour and this new group will identify how existing rules can be strengthened.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: “Consumer behaviour and technology are changing so quickly that only a bold and innovative approach will allow us to achieve a reduction in the numbers of people experiencing, or at risk from, gambling related harm.
“I’ve been encouraged by the willingness of so many operators to work with us on these challenges. We’ve set demanding timetable for progress because we cannot proceed at the speed of the slowest. If rapid progress is not made then we will have to look at other options, as making gambling safer for consumers is paramount.”