The Betting and Gaming Council have made the official announcement, Safer Gambling Week will take place from the 1st to the 7th of November.
The announcement comes at the same time as research showing that gambling harm could actually be being over-estimated by online surveys.
Safer Gambling Week sees the industry come together, from betting shops to online sportsbooks, to push the message of responsible gambling as one united entity.
Does it work? Well, some of the stats might just surprise you.
Does Safer Gambling Week Work?
The 2020 campaign was a huge success according to all sources, with some highlights listed below:
- 19 million responsible gambling social media impressions, a 19% increase on 2019 (a lot of nineteens in there!)
- The number of sessions available on the Safer Gambling Week website up by 18%
- Safe gambling messages on betting websites more than doubled
- Direct interventions by operators suspecting problem behaviour up by 25%
- Significant increase in the number of gamblers using safer gambling tools
- 63% of those identifying as problem gamblers sought help in 2020 compared to 54% in 2019
Not to mention the voluntary withdrawal of gambling adverts during live sport and the money donated by gambling companies to problem gambling research, treatment, and education centres.
This all points towards an industry doing its best to keep its’ customers safe and their betting activity healthy, and suggests that Safer Gambling Week does work, as well as serving as a year long commitment to safer gambling.
Is Problem Gambling in the UK Over-Estimated?
According to research backed by GambleAware and conducted by the London School of Economics, it could be.
This, coupled with the positive news regarding Safer Gambling Week is excellent news for gambling in the UK, and could mean we are close to turning a corner with problem gambling. However, that could be jumping the gun somewhat.
The problem with many reports and surveys is that they are only conducted online, which brings up the issue of selection bias. The report states that, “Selection bias is a particular risk for the online surveys because they either have low response rates, or use non-probability sampling.”
In person face to face interviews are time consuming and more expensive, but online surveys are more likely to attract those comfortable with the internet, who are in turn more likely to be problem gamblers.
GambleAware commissioned the research in response to a YouGov study conducted solely online, and in the words of Alison Clare, GambleAware’s research, information and knowledge director:
“We want our prevention, treatment, and support commissioning to be informed by the best available evidence, and having survey data we can be confident in, within the constraints of data collection in an increasingly online world, is key.”
The recommendation is that future studies, while relying heavily on cost effective online surveying methods, should also hold periodic face to face interviews with gamblers for balance.