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PA podcast: Listen to licensing solicitor, Felix Faulkner, discuss Safer Gambling Week

Safer Gambling Week, 1st - 7th November 2021

As a leading firm of gambling licensing solicitors, we are proud to support Safer Gambling Week.

This industry wide initiative to promote safer gambling runs from 1st – 7th November. It is a campaign led by the gambling industry that aims to create a conversation with customers, staff and the wider public about safer gambling.

It also provides an invaluable resource for help and advice.

To discuss this in further detail, trainee licensing solicitor, Felix Faulkner, discusses what Safer Gambling Week is, what it is raising awareness of and what operators are doing to start the conversation.

To listen to Felix, click here

Further information on Safer Gambling Week can be found at safer gambling week – Safer Gambling UK.

Find the full transcript below:

 

Dominic

Hello and welcome to the Poppleston Allen podcast. This week, we’re going to be discussing Safer Gambling Week which runs from the first to the seventh of November.

Today, I’m joined by Felix, who is a trainee solicitor in our London office and a member of our gambling team.

How are you today, Felix?

 

Felix

I’m good thank you Dominic, how are you?

 

Dominic

I’m good. I’m good. What’s everything like in London? Is it busy again? Is it recovering?

 

Felix

It’s Certainly getting busier. There’s a lot more commuters on the tube. People are coming in, not necessarily on Fridays, people like to use that as their working from home day, I believe. But it’s definitely feeling a bit more normal. The pubs are certainly filling up, which is good for our trade that’s for sure.

 

Dominic

Yeah, exactly. So Felix, starting off, so obviously we’re here to talk about Safe Gambling Week, what actually is safe for gambling week for those who don’t know?

 

Felix

So, it’s to raise awareness of safer gambling. It’s to get people talking about how to gamble more safely. It’s a campaign that has been running since 2017. It’s led largely by the majority of the players in the gambling industry.

It’s an aim to create a conversation with the customers, with the staff, with the wider public about how to gamble more safely. A lot of the public see gambling as a negative, a negative part of society, when in reality it can be done safely, it can be done within customer’s means and to raise awareness really.

 

Dominic

So you mentioned about awareness and awareness of safer gambling. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

 

Felix

So it’s trying to, not necessarily teach people, but make people understand how they can gamble more safely, how they can manage, how much money fits within their means and how much they can gamble and still live within their paycheque as such.

It also is raising awareness of the many tools that are available within the gambling industry that many operators put on to help people gamble safely all year round. Even for the people who struggle with this gambling safely idea, there’s many levels of advice and support of different bodies that will help people with gambling problems. And yeah, it’s just raising the general awareness that gambling is something that can exist in our society and it’s something that everyone can partake in as a pastime, be that through a bookies, be that through a casino and do it safely and to let people know that, as I’m sure you will have seen on the telly, when the fun stops, stop.

 

Dominic

Exactly.

 

Felix

It’s a broader awareness of that message really.

 

Dominic

Yeah. So, obviously we’ve had a tough 18 months and the gambling industry has taken a big toll. Do you think that makes this year even more special to try and push this initiative?

 

Felix

Whether it’s more special, but it’s definitely going to be a greater opportunity for operators because last year, due to COVID, all of the land operators, so the shops, the casinos, the bingo halls, the betting shops, they were all shut during this period of the first and the seventh of November when it was held last year. So that prevented the opportunity for many of the staff who work in these premises, and some of them have worked in them for many years and they’re very passionate about gambling and safer gambling, to engage in that face-to-face interaction with customers. And that meant that a lot of customers may have been missed out because they don’t enjoy the app-based betting, they don’t enjoy website betting and they like to go into the shop. And if they’re not going to the shop because it’s shut, it’s difficult to get that message across of how to gamble safely. So, it provides more visibility to safer gambling and in terms of statistics, last year, there were still 12% more visits to the safer gambling website than the previous and 19% more social media interactions. So maybe that is because the operators on the land were shut, and this is just the way that people visited.

So, yeah, definitely the fact that the premises are open this year, that bookies are back open, the bingo halls are back open, it will give operators and staff much more opportunity to engage with customers and to communicate with them. And there will be, as I’m sure you’ll be aware of, there’ll be pamphlets, there’ll be advertisements, they’ll be plastered all over the whole place about this safer gambling. The industry is really hot on this. They’re really keen to let everyone know this is safer gambling week. We’re trying to make sure that everyone who is gambling with us is gambling safely.

 

Dominic

So, in terms of where this applies to, does this just apply to England or is this nationwide?

 

Felix

It’s UK and Ireland based, so it applies across the country. And the interesting thing is that we’ve had this campaign going since 2017; now it turns out that this year, the European Gaming and Betting Association have announced their inaugural European Safer Gambling Week for this same week. So, I don’t know whether that was done in tandem or if Europe have just decided to follow suit on this point, which in terms of spreading the message across borders of safer gambling, it’s certainly a good approach because if Europe are following then maybe other countries will as well and we’ll have a worldwide safer gambling week in a few years.

 

Dominic

So, you’ve obviously given us a lot of background on the initiative. Do we know if this week actually works? does it help people stay safe when gambling?

 

Felix

Yes. So, Interestingly the Gambling Commission, who are obviously the regulator for the gambling industry, published a report last week, and I’ll just read out some facts. It showed that the rate of problem gambling for the year 2021 up to September was 0.3%, which is down from 0.6%, and the rate of gamblers classed as being moderate risk of harm also fell in the same period from 1.2% to 0.7%.

Now I’m not necessarily saying that safer gambling week had that impact directly, but it’s clearly proven that there’s no harm in explaining to gamblers and people who do dabble in a flutter every now and again on the horses or the Grand National or the FA Cup final, that spreading awareness about gambling safely is clearly working, people are clearly listening. So, if we can look to get those figures down even further this year, then I’m sure this safer gambling week will be lauded as a huge success.

 

Dominic

Well, I think that’s all we have time for today. Thank you, Félix, for being part of this first podcast. So, if you want to get involved in Safer Gambling Week, just head over to SaferGamblingUK.org.sgw and you can find out how to get involved and a little bit more about it Thank you very much for listening.

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