With the European Championship kick-starting, there has been a focus on the relationship between football and gambling especially with Channel 4 set to begin the airing of Football Gambling Addiction by Ruth Davidson.
European Gaming and Betting Association
The EGBA (European Gaming and Betting Association) stressed in the mid-week that its members will comply with its Code of Conduct guiding responsible advertising all through the tournament. This Code of Conduct was launched in April 2020 (when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak) by the Brussels-based body concerning responsible advertising and applies both in the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The Audio-Visual Media Directive from the European Union has become a fundamental part of the codes about responsible messaging and protecting children. Supported by Nielsen, a global broadcast analytics agency, the EASA (European Advertising Standards Alliance) will monitor the advertising of the members of the EGBA. The monitoring will cover both online and traditional advertising.
Speaking on the matter, Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of the EGBA stated that:
Members of the association have a strong commitment to socially responsible advertising especially during major events like the ongoing EURO 2020 football championship. He further stated that EGBA’s code on responsible advertising actualizes this commitment and that trust and compliance in the code will be supported by the monitoring of the independent third party.
In his last remarks, Haijer explained that advertising is a strong topic in many countries of the world and the gambling sector needs to take more responsibility for the tone and content of its advertising. To conclude, the Secretary-General expressed optimism that gambling authorities across Europe will recognize the efforts of the EGBA members in raising the standards of responsible advertising.
Advertising Standards Agency
The ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) published their submission to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport’s consultation in the United Kingdom as part of the Gambling Act review in 2005. In the submission, ASA stated that normalizing gambling was a predicted effect of the initial legislation. They also stated that their function is to impede gambling advertising that makes potentially harmful or irresponsible gambling behavior look normal.
The ASA also stated that like e-cigarettes and alcohol, gambling has become a normal activity in a process whereby behavior, service, or product becomes a regular feature of day-to-day activities in the current UK society. However, the ASA accepts that there is currently a general view that gambling is a legal leisure activity although it is subject to stringent controls and regulations. They also admitted that they currently have limited powers on the control of the gambling advertising volume beyond restrictions on scheduling and media placements. Lastly, the agency explained that they are constantly monitoring both new advertising platforms and shifting customer habits, reviewing and examining the existing gambling advertising codes accordingly.
GAMSTOP, GamBan, and GamCare
With the commencement of the European Championship, GAMSTOP, GamBan, and GamCare have relaunched their #TalkBanStop campaign this week with Karen Carney, an England footballer at the forefront. GamCare has partly guided this focus with an expectation of seeing a rise in the number of women seeking help due to the Euros championship after a similar trend at the World Cup in 2018.
In her view of the matter, Anna Hemmings, GamCare CEO stated that:
Women now enjoy increasing access to gambling especially online because they can be anonymous and do not have to make a special trip to a betting shop. She continued, saying that GamCare anyone worried about someone else or themselves should contact the company so that they will offer him/her expert advice and also arrange the support they need.
She added that the company wants people to know that it is a positive move to take the first step (seeing a non-judgmental help). Hemmings explained that GamCare has trained advisers on ground and will also give people the support and free tools available via #TalkBanStop. Furthermore, the CEO noted that campaigns like the ongoing #TalkBanStop are very essential in making people aware and informed about the free resources available out there especially to women who have struggled with gambling around sports. In her last remarks, Hemmings disclosed that it is essential for GamCare to raise awareness for the available support with regards to the ongoing European championship.
In an announcement from Rank Group, the new Hawkeye system has now been launched to increase focus on safer gambling. The new system will monitor customer engagements in real-time al through the company’s online Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino brands. Hawkeye system addresses a major objective for this year such that it would be significantly investing in improving customer care. This implies that the proprietary-built software will identify at-risk players and also better determine when they need interventions. Rank Group stated that it will focus on the high-velocity players who exhibit changes in behavior often suddenly and might not be detected by the existing safer gambling thresholds and controls.
Statement from Rank Group Director of Customer Services
Speaking on the launch, Rank Group Director of Customer Services, Liam Smith stated that:
The firm is aware of the high importance of high-velocity play, which is why it shifted its focus to address the issue last year.
Liam further noted that Rank Group has a strong determination to provide the safest possible experience to its customers when they play across its digital brands. The Group Director concluded that the new Hawkeye system will add another protection layer to Rank Group’s existing full gambling measures suite across the business.