BGC calls on UK Government to put child protection “front and centre”

By Gambling Insider

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has called on the UK Government to make child protection a priority in its forthcoming Gambling White Paper.

BGC Chief Exec Michael Dugher highlighted the organisation’s accomplishments and hopes the Government will place the protection of underage persons — especially from black market gambling — “front and centre”.

He said: “We strongly support the Government’s Gambling Review, which highlighted the protection of children and vulnerable people in a fair and open gambling economy as one of the Government’s main priorities. We therefore hope that child protection will be front and centre of the forthcoming white paper.

Since the standards body was established in 2019, 15 child protection measures have been passed, with further measures planned in coming months.

Its successes to date include the £10m ($13m) Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which is delivered to children, teachers and youth workers across the UK by safer gambling charities YGAM and GamCare.

In addition, BGC members introduced new age gating rules for ads on social media, preventing anyone aged 24 and under from viewing them.

And its efforts seem to have borne fruit. Early results from one operator reportedly showed a 96% drop in views from users aged 18 to 24 in the final quarter of 2020, and according to a recent report by the Gambling Commission, the rate of problem gambling for 16 to 24-year-olds has fallen by 50%.

Meanwhile, the proportion of young people who admitted to having gambled in the past seven days declined from 23% in 2011 to 11% in 2019. But despite these successes, Dugher believes that now is not the time to rest on its laurels.

“It is clear that the steps BGC members have taken over the previous two years are now providing results,” remarked Dugher.

“Nevertheless, we are not complacent, and protecting young people remains our top priority as we continue raising standards across the regulated industry.

“The BGC and our members will continue drive further changes to prevent under-18s and other vulnerable groups from being exposed to gambling advertising online.”

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