Charity GamCare has launched a new industry code on the display of safer gambling information.
The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has today (March 5) announced the launch of GamCare’s new Industry Code for the Display of Safer Gambling Information, which was developed in consultation with members of the BGC, GamCare service users, and other gambling support services too.
According to the BGC’s announcement post, the new code, which all BGC members are required to follow by August 31st this year, aims to provide customers with easy access to straightforward, well-signposted tools and support which is consistent across multiple platforms.
What’s more, the code requires safer gambling information to be displayed in a primary position on navigation menus, in customer account sections, and in space allocated for the promotion and advertising of bonuses.
The new code is part of the BGC’s push for safer gambling. Since the organisation’s founding back in 2019, the BGC has implemented several codes and rules to raise standards within the gambling industry.
Some of the BGC’s changes include a VIP Code to reduce the number of higher-value customers, a Games Design Code which changes the design and play of online slots, and a new Code of Conduct to prevent football clubs from using their official social media accounts to promote gambling.
In addition to the above, the BGC also introduced new rules to prevent under-18s from seeing gambling ads online and helped introduce the whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads during televised sport.
The new code also comes after the BGC published its 10-pledge action plan at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, setting out the standards expected of its members throughout lockdown. The 10-pledge plan has since led to an increase in the number of safer gambling messages on websites and sent directly to customers.
In the announcement post, Brigid Simmonds said of the new code and the BGC’s ongoing work to raising gambling standards: “I am proud that we have achieved so much – but there is more still to do to further improve standards and tackle problem gambling. Our support for the GamCare Industry Code for the Display of Safer Gambling Information is further evidence of our commitment to this vitally important work.”
This week, the BGC also praised Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s extension to the furlough scheme and business rates relief, as well as the introduction of grants for high street businesses and hospitality as part of the Budget.
In a post on the official BGC website, the organisation, which called for an extension to business rates relief earlier this week, stated that the new measures will help support the 44,000 people who working in the retail gambling industry, including betting shops and brick-and-mortar casinos.
The BGC also praised the Chancellor’s decision to extend the furlough scheme to September and for extended business rates relief which is claims will remove “major financial pressure” on businesses that have suffered a significant loss of income throughout the pandemic.
Michael Dugher, the Chief Executive at the BGC, said in a statement: “The extension of the furlough scheme and new grants for businesses are strongly welcomed by the tens of thousands of people who work in high-street betting shops and land-based casinos. Without the continued support from the Chancellor, many of these businesses would have struggled to survive.
“We have already seen over 5,000 jobs lost and 375 businesses closed since the start of last year. The decision to extend the business rates relief will be welcomed by many of our member companies who have not been able to open properly for nearly a year now.”
He added: “Our industry will continue to play its part in the national effort to combat Covid, supporting our local communities, and we look forward to contributing to the economic recovery.”
Meanwhile, Bacta (British Amusement Catering Trade Association), the association which represents the UK’s amusements and high-street gaming manufacturers and operators, has launched a legal challenge against the Government over the reopening of adult gaming centres (AGCs).
Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, all non-essential retail, including betting shops, will reopen on April 12th, but adult gaming centres, brick-and-mortar casino venues, and bingo halls are scheduled to reopen on May 17.
As a result, Bacta has called on legal firm DWF Law to challenge the Government’s decision to delay some reopenings. In a letter addressed to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, DWF Law described the decision as “irrational” and claimed the Government was discriminating against adult gaming centres.
The letter reads: “Bacta had hoped it would not need to subject the decision to legal scrutiny and/or challenge, but it simply cannot ignore the decision’s discriminatory impact and the long term hit to the AGC industry which would flow from it.”
“The Government is still required to exercise its decision-making rationally, in a non-discriminatory way and in accordance with legitimate expectations. It therefore remains plain that the disparity is not based on any good evidence justifying it.”
Bacta CEO John White said in a statement to FocusGN: “We are doing everything we can to focus attention on the unfair, and we believe illegal, treatment of AGC s in the reopening roadmap. The decision to prevent this one venue on the high street from opening with all other retailers it not only discriminatory, evidence for it is absent and it lacks any logic.”