About a week ago, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) published its new ten-point action plan in a bid to promote responsible gambling during the lockdown period. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, several social spaces including casinos have had to close down as people isolate themselves in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Consequently, there has been a significant uptick in online gambling traffic and bodies such as the BGC are concerned that it could be a sign of irresponsible gambling behavior.
Already, the UK Gambling Commission has issued directives and advice to consumers urging them to indulge responsibly. The Betting and Gaming Council’s move came shortly after when it also went forward to come up with its own set of guidelines. Its action-plan followed shortly after that.
“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,” Michael Dugher, the BGC chief executive commented.
The council’s members are now required to step up their efforts when it comes to monitoring customer behavior. In addition to that, they are also required to deliver tailored responses as well as enact actions to reflect their push for social distancing and working from home. These pledges are to be affected immediately to ensure that any person who is at risk of gambling-related harm receives the necessary assistance.
EGBA Calls for Responsible Advertising
The Betting and Gaming Council is not the only agency that is looking into ways of protecting customers in the midst of the global pandemic. A new set of guidelines has recently been released by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and it is all about protecting gamblers.
According to the new set of guidelines, gambling operators are not allowed to reference COVID-19 in any of their marketing campaigns. The gambling operators must also refrain from referencing the World Health Organization (WHO) in any of their marketing material.
Moreover, gambling advertisements are not supposed to portray gambling as a solution to social, personal or even financial problems. In fact, they are not even allowed to invite customers to place bets online as a solution to boredom – many illegal online gambling operators have actually tried this.
“EGBA is committed to driving standards across the online gambling sector and these are important measures which we think gambling companies should adopt to protect their customers and ensure their advertising is conducted in an ethical and socially responsible way. We urge all online gambling companies to adhere to them,” EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said.
All in all, while we wait for everything to get back to normal once the virus is contained, it is very encouraging to see that many regulators are continuing their mandate to protect gamblers.