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UK gambling industry steps up consumer protection during COVID-19 lockdown

30th March 2020 10:04 am GMT

The UK’s leading gambling operators are stepping up to provide additional safeguards to players during this period of isolation and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This sees members of the industry standards body Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) adopt a 10-point plan to strengthen existing responsible gambling initiatives during the pandemic.

The most important initiative requires BGC members to monitor the amount of time and money that players spend during the pandemic lockdown, and to intervene if this increases compared to pre-crisis levels.

Online betting and gaming operators will also increase safer gambling messaging directed at all consumers across their websites and apps and will actively promote tools which allow players to set their own deposit limits.

Any marketing affiliate that acts in an irresponsible manner and breaches the BGC’s action plan during the COVID-19 crisis will immediately be dropped, and all members must ensure that there is no increase in direct marketing to consumers, unless it is to promote responsible gambling tools and features.

“In this time of national crisis, with so many people self-isolating and social distancing at home, it is vital that we do everything possible to ensure safer gambling and to protect potentially vulnerable or at risk people,” said Michael Dugher, chief executive of BGC.

“We all know that levels of gambling have plummeted not just because of betting shop or casino closures, but because of the absence of sport, which is also fundamental to online betting. Although gambling levels have dropped during the COVID crisis, our commitment to safer gambling is being stepped up,” he added.

“Increasing safer gambling measures with more monitoring and customer interventions, stepping up safer gambling messages and measures like promoting deposit limits, together with a tough crackdown on affiliates and calling out rogue black-market operators, will make a big difference.”

The decline in shares of London-listed betting and gaming operators continued Monday morning, with shares in GVC Holdings plc. (LSE:GVC) down 4.52 per cent at 461.00 pence per share; 888 Holdings plc. (LSE:888) down 2.19 per cent at 111.50 pence per share; and shares in William Hill plc. (LSE:WMH) trading down 11.05 per cent early Monday morning at 57.25 per share.

Rank Group plc. (LSE:RNK) shares were trading down 3.54 per cent at 125.20 pence per share, while Flutter Entertainment plc.(LSE:FLTR) fell 3.36 per cent to 6,330.00 pence per share.

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