Sportsbooks Sign Responsible Gambling Pledge

November 12, 2019

- Grant Whittington

UK-based sports betting companies are scrambling in an attempt to protect their wickets, so to speak. 10 of the most prominent businesses in the industry have now proposed a total of 5 safer gambling commitments in a supposed attempt to prevent even more regulations and limits from being imposed on the local industry by government policymakers.

Mere days after a prominent local news and media publication revealed that MPs were now actually considering curbing money spent on online gambling games to a crippling £2 billion a year, the values of various gambling market stocks took a significant nosedive. The general fear is one of the industry not being able to survive and make a profit if any more restrictions are imposed; and especially restrictions of the nature currently considered by government.

Been A Long Time Coming

For many years, betting companies have been accused of not taking into proper consideration the possible harm caused by their products to the lives and finances of their customers as a result of their failure to implement certain limits and safeguards. Some of the reported cases may have been bordering on absolutely ludicrous, but some others were absolutely justified and textbook scenarios of what all could go wrong when necessary care isn’t constantly practiced, and the correct systems were not in place.

Even so, most lawmakers don’t bring into the balance of consideration the incidents eventually classified as having not been justified and the statistics are generally based on the initial allegations and reports. This obviously makes the entire situation to appear much more grave and volatile than what it actually is in reality.

The 5 Pledges

Even so, the sports betting giants to have committed the 5 new rules would do well to implement harm reduction wherever necessary. The group includes gambling and betting giants the likes of William Hill, Bet365 and the GVC Group. As for the actual points that are being committed to, these are described as being “the most comprehensive set of measures from a wide group of leaders” as far as what any past initiatives had related to gambling harm reduction.

The 5 pledges committed to are:

  1. Prevent underage gambling and protect young people;
  2. Increase support for treatment and gambling harm;
  3. Strengthen and expand codes of practice for advertising and marketing;
  4. Protect and empower our customers; and
  5. Promote a culture of safer gambling.

Showing They Really Do Care

Even more impressive is the fact that the betting groups devised the commitments themselves. These were facilitated by the industry-funded reduced gambling harm initiative the Senet Group. What it does however indicate is that operators and bookies are way more in tune with the industry and its particular challenges than what may have been the assumption during recent years.

The fact that previous campaigns of this nature have been referred to as wholly ineffective by the likes of various academics associated with world-class universities has however prompted the group to re-assess its approach as well as some of the actual implementation strategies behind the 5 commitments.

But Peter Jackson, who is the CEO of Flutter Entertainment (Flutter owns Paddy Power and Betfair), begs to differ and says that the commitment points included on the list clearly indicate that operators “actually genuinely care” and moreover, that they believe that acting in a responsible manner towards players and bettors is what is required if the industry is even going to survive at all.

On the other hand, not giving two hoots about responsible gambling and the promotion there of, is a fast-track route out of the industry, and the business in genera

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