The chief executives of ten leading gambling operators in the UK have joined forces to deliver a package of safer gambling commitments to address the harm that can be caused to customers and young people.

The ten companies are part of the newly established Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which has officially launched today to support the UK Gambling Commission’s national strategy to reduce gambling harm.

The safer gambling initiative is comprised of five core commitments and 22 new actions. These include preventing underage gambling and protecting young people; increasing support for treatment of gambling harm; strengthening and expanding codes of practice for advertising and marketing; protecting and empowering customers; and promoting a culture of safer gambling.

“The Betting and Gaming Council welcomes these commitments from the chief executives,” said BGC chairman Brigid Simmonds OBE. “This is a major step towards preventing underage gambling and addressing harm.

“Working together as an industry we will create a culture of safer gambling - increasing the competency of professionals who educate young people, increasing support for treatment, strengthening and expanding codes of practice and empowering consumers. These are commitments that the BGC will champion and drive forward to build public and institutional trust in our industry.”

One of the first actions to be implemented is a new four-year national programme to educate young people, which is being shaped and delivered by two charities, GamCare and the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).

The charities will work with young people, their parents, families and the youth professional workforce to improve awareness and understanding of the risks associated with gambling.

“The commitment to meet GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard and to work towards achieving our Advanced Level accreditation will drive a step-change in industry standards,” said GamCare CEO Anna Hemmings. “We are also delighted to be working alongside YGAM to deliver our shared aspirations for youth education around gambling and the harms it can cause.

“Education is essential in ensuring that young people understand the risks of gambling and are able to make informed decisions about their participation in these activities and think critically about them before doing so.”

YGAM founder and CEO Lee Willows commented: “In collaboration with GamCare we’ll deliver a national education programme to raise awareness of the risks of gambling as well as help build digital resilience among young people. The transparent way in which this programme will be reported on and evaluated is helpful to aid public understanding of its impact and further raise awareness.”

As part of the safer gambling commitments, BGC members will introduce new codes of conduct for direct and affiliate marketing, as well as sponsorship activities, while an independent monitoring and evaluation process will regularly and publicly report on activities undertaken.

“Through the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms we have been clear on the important role for greater collaboration and partnership working across the industry, alongside robust regulatory action by us,” said Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller.

“We have been encouraged by moves across the industry in recent months to work together on player protection and hope that this programme marks another step forward by gambling companies in delivering on the ambitions in the National Strategy.”

BGC members currently include some of the leading betting and gaming operators in the UK, including Aspers, bet365, Caesars, Flutter Entertainment, Genting, GVC, Playtech, Rank Group, Sky Betting & Gaming and William Hill.

“These commitments are an important step forward for the sector in their own right and also signal a genuine desire to ensure that acting responsibly is at the heart of our businesses,” added Flutter Entertainment CEO Peter Jackson.