The UK's high street betting operators have officially launched GambleAware Week, a campaign backed by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and designed to address public concerns about fixed odds betting terminals.

GambleAware Week begins today (January 26th) to coincide with the introduction of new rules that make it compulsory to offer players the option of setting a limit on spending or game time when playing FOBTs. It is designed to both boost the number of players setting such limits, as well as educating players about the tools available to help control their gambling habits.

Over the course of the week new machine rules and responsible gambling advice will be heavily promoted and circulated among customers, with shop windows to feature advertisements warning players to only bet what they can afford to lose.

Two specific leaflets will be produced and circulated in all high street betting shops, with the ABB providing materials for independent operators. One will advertise GambleAware Week, while the second will explain why players should set limits when playing gaming machines.

This will be supported by in-shop and online promotions, with TV screens in outlets to carry GambleAware Week messages, and some operators planning to feature such messages on their corporate site landing pages.

The ABB will also partner problem gambling charity GamCare, launching a series of public engagement events in Liverpool, supported by bookmaker William Hill. This will see the companies work together to run training workshops, post GamCare leaflets through letterboxes, and organize a drop-in session at the charity’s local counseling service.

GambleAware Week is the latest in a series of measures launched by the industry to tackle the issue of problem gambling, most notably the introduction of voluntary measures such as the option to set limits and the establishment of Senet Group, a responsible gambling watchdog formed by William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.

The week-long campaign has also been informed by the Responsible Gambling Trust’s recent research into gaming machines.

ABB chairman Paul Darling QC described GambleAware week as the latest step in the industry’s approach to responsible gambling.

“We are absolutely committed to addressing public concern and doing everything we can to better protect our customers,” he explained. “In recent months, we’ve made a number of changes, on the basis of evidence, to significantly improve player protection.

“However, we remain determined to do more and will continue to work with all interested parties in order to build on the measures already taken,” Darling added.

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