John Hagan spoke on 7 September 2017 at the KPMG eGaming Summit in the Isle of Man, on the subject of Responsible Gambling Week. The full text of his speech is replicated here.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) is an industry body comprising the five trade associations which represent all sectors of the gambling industry. Its mission is to provide a structure to better promote socially responsible gambling across all gambling sectors.
IGRG members constitute 98% of the British Gambling market, representing some 640 gambling operators and 8,500 licensed premises across the gambling industry.
About Responsible Gambling Week
Responsible Gambling Week is a national, cross-industry awareness campaign running 12th – 18th October 2017 to promote responsible gambling.
Each sector of the UK gambling industry works day in, day out, to promote responsible gambling to their customers, but this campaign is about uniting as an industry to get everyone talking about responsible gambling.
The theme for this inaugural year is “let’s talk about responsible gambling”. By coming together with one voice, the UK gambling industry wants to further raise awareness of responsible gambling across the whole country and start more conversations about what it means to gamble responsibly.
The industry will also be raising awareness of what tools are available to help people gamble responsibly, and will be sharing information on how to access help and support, for those who need it.
Having the whole industry behind Responsible Gambling Week is essential to its success.
We want and need your full support and involvement, to make Responsible Gambling Week a success.
What will happen during Responsible Gambling Week?
To spread the message of responsible gambling as far and wide as possible, the UK gambling industry will be leading on a range of activities through the week:
• Posters, leaflets, banners and other information points about Responsible Gambling Week are being rolled out across the country in gambling venues, on industry websites and on social media channels, encouraging conversations about gambling responsibly. A key feature of the week is that the entire UK gambling industry and participating partners will display Responsible Gambling Week marketing artwork and collateral at their premises, on their websites and via their social media channels.
• The industry is working with GamCare and its partners to establish dedicated information points around the UK that will be available to the general public throughout the week. These Information Points will be equipped with experienced staff and information about responsible gambling. IGRG will work with the relevant operators, local authorities and local media to ensure the Information Points are well-promoted.
• Staff at gambling venues and online sites will continue to be points of contact for their customers on how to gamble responsibly, with Responsible Gambling Week providing a natural prompt for conversation.
• Our participating partners, GambleAware and GamCare, will also be raising awareness about responsible gambling through their websites and communication channels
• But importantly, this is not just about the trade associations and our partners… it’s about the whole industry – operators across all gambling sectors – participating. This is what will make the week impactful and worthwhile.
• There will be online chatrooms and interactive Q&A sessions on social media through dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts which will help to engage discussions about responsible gambling more broadly.
• An event will be held in Parliament to help brief politicians on what it means to gamble responsibly and what they can do to share the message with their constituents
Why a Responsible Gambling Week?
Social responsibility is fundamental to the gambling industry’s approach.
The industry makes donations to gambling charities to fund treatment, research and education programmes, providing support and information, and raising awareness 365 days a year.
Each sector also runs awareness initiatives and provides its customers with tools to help them gamble responsibly and make informed choices. It is dedicated, year-round, to promoting responsible gambling.
What makes this week so special is the industry’s willingness to come together and be vocal about social responsibility – coordinating and sharing the same messages to secure maximum impact. An achievement of itself which is not to be underestimated at a time when the Government is reviewing gaming machines and social responsibility measures, and which reflects the importance which all gambling sectors attach to this subject.
Industry is always being encouraged to do more, to try new initiatives, and that is what it is doing here, but it is doing it for its customers and the wider public rather than its regulator or government. Because our view is that Responsible Gambling Week is unequivocally a good thing for industry to be doing.
This initiative originated from industry and is being driven by industry and is also being supported by GamCare and GambleAware. The Responsible Gambling Strategy Board is also supportive. Public engagement is one of the 12 priority actions in the National Responsible Gambling Strategy.
It is intended to be a genuine and engaging conversation with customers, the wider public and other stakeholders to raise awareness of responsible gambling.
It is a positive message that gives a more accurate picture of the industry and its ongoing work around social responsibility, at a time when there is so much negativity around.
Responsible Gambling Week will be rigorously and independently evaluated and if it is the success we hope and expect it will be, we will learn any lessons and do it again in future years.
How can you get involved during Responsible Gambling Week?
All sectors of the UK gambling industry work day in, day out, to promote responsible gambling among their customers. Social responsibility is fundamental to the gambling industry’s approach.
By coming together with one voice, the UK gambling industry wants to raise awareness of responsible gambling across the whole country and start more conversations about what it means to gamble responsibly. We need the leadership, full support and involvement of industry and of those working in the industry, to make Responsible Gambling Week a success.
On a very practical level:
• We are actively encouraging operators to undertake complementary initiatives during the week. Trade associations are liaising with their members and acting as the point of contact for all operators in their respective sector, to ensure consistency of message and to co-ordinate sector requirements and issues. I know already that operators have expressed their support and are working with their internal teams to get the responsible gambling message out far and wide during the week. But I would also ask lawyers, bankers, accountants and others represented at this conference to consider what they might do during RG Week to add to the national conversation.
• The campaign Twitter page is now live and we ask that individuals, businesses, venues and trade associations FOLLOW @RGWeek2017 now and get ready to join the conversation. Tweets will start on this page on Monday 11th September, one month in advance of national Responsible Gambling Week, to build an audience in advance of the week.
• The Facebook page is also live and it would be great if you could also FOLLOW and LIKE @RGWeek2017 now and get ready to join the conversation from next Monday.
How you can get involved
This campaign is about uniting together, as one socially responsible industry. You can support the week by:
• Liking the campaigns Facebook and Twitter pages @RGWeek2017
• Sharing information about your social responsibility measures
To find out more, visit www.ResponsibleGamblingWeek.co.uk
In conclusion, the theme of this inaugural week will be “Let’s Talk about Responsible Gambling”. Our vision is to have more conversations, across all media and in the retail and online environment, about what it means to gamble responsibly, with customers, staff, the wider public and key stakeholders. We will be aiming to engage with customers and the wider public, rather than “broadcast” messages about responsible gambling.
We want to raise awareness amongst customers and the wider public about how to gamble responsibly, the tools that are available to keep gambling safe and fun, and where anyone can find help and support for those who need it. We will want as an industry to understand what they think responsible gambling is and what it means to them, to learn from the experience of consumers and their families to inform future policy and initiatives.