Gambling industry responds to public concerns

The chief executives of Britain’s leading gambling companies have today joined forces to act on public concerns on gambling.

The companies – William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power – are committing to:

  • a voluntary ban on advertising sign-up offers (free bets and free money) on TV before 9pm, mindful of children and young people watching
  • the withdrawal of all advertising of gaming machines from betting shop windows
  • dedicating 20% of shop window advertising to responsible gambling messages

These measures will come into force on 1 October 2014.

In addition, from the start of next year, they will also commit to:

  • the creation of a new independent body, the Senet Group, which will be headed by an independent Standards Commissioner to hold the industry to account
  • fund a major new advertising campaign to educate people about responsible gambling
  • all TV advertising carrying more prominent responsible gambling messages

The Chief Executives announced the moves in a full-page open letter published today in the country’s leading national and regional newspapers.

The Senet Group, due to be fully up-and-running from January, will carry out bespoke independent test purchasing to ensure that the operators deliver on the commitments announced today and other codes of practice aimed at protecting the vulnerable. It will be able to “name and shame” or impose fines on operators in breach.

Its independent Standards Commissioner, who will head The Senet Group, will be appointed through a transparent process run on Nolan Principles.

The voluntary measures announced, which go beyond those required by the Government and regulators, will apply initially only to the four founding companies. But the chief executives are today inviting other gambling operators who have high standards in their commitment to responsible gambling to join them.

Richard Glynn, CEO Ladbrokes: “Gambling has long been a leisure pursuit and part of the cultural fabric of the UK, but we are alive to the concerns of the public to keep gambling a responsible and fun activity.”

James Henderson, CEO William Hill: “The launch of the Senet Group sets a benchmark by which we and the betting industry can be judged.”

Carl Leaver, Group CEO of Gala Coral: “Actions speak louder than words. That’s why the Senet Group will be given the independence, budget and purpose to hold the betting industry to account.”

Patrick Kennedy, CEO of Paddy Power: “Putting responsible gambling at the heart of our business is simply the right thing to do.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Senet, played in ancient Egypt, is thought to be one of the oldest games of chance.
  2. The Nolan Principles, developed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.
  3. The four founding companies of the Senet Group are William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.

For more information please call: Hilary Douglas 020 7432 7600