Responsible Gambling Standards

The Senet Group is an independent body set up to raise standards in the sector, supporting the Gambling Commission’s work to make services safer and fairer ensuring, in particular, that responsible gambling messages are put to players with frequency and prominence. We explain our work to date here along with our plans for raising standards and prevent problem gambling through guidance and best practice material that will be available for use by any and all operators.

Responsible Gambling messages and advertising

A set of commitments made by our funding partners limited certain forms of TV and product advertising and marketing. They ensured responsible gambling messages were included in advertising in conventional and digital media and that gaming machines give players options to set time and money limits. Alongside their commitment to incorporate responsible gambling messaging in their brander advertising our funders have provided funding for a campaign of stand-alone responsible gambling messaging.

Versions of past TV campaigns can be seen here. The findings of surveys into the reach and impact of the campaign can be seen here.

The commitments given were in addition to the duties on partners under the Codes by the Committee on Advertising Practice and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice, and the arrangements in the Industry Group for responsible Gambling’s Code of Advertising Practice for Gambling Services.

They are also in addition to the actions operators already take to help users gamble responsibly, some of which are now required under the licensing conditions set by the Gambling Commission. These responsible gambling tools include tools online that help users calculate what they can sensibly afford to gamble, encouragement to use deposit limit setting options, mechanisms and alerts that allow players to take time-out from play and easy access to information on their account history.

Self Exclusion

All gambling sector licensees must offer customers the option of “self-excluding” from their services or premises.

Self-exclusion means asking a gambling provider to exclude you from gambling with them for a length of time, usually between six and twelve months but this can be for up to five years for online gambling. In addition to offering this support as individual businesses all operators in the various gambling sectors must support multi-operator self exclusion schemes. These allow a person to register their self-exclusion with a sector body and for that exclusion to cover multiple operators.

In 2016 Senet was asked to take responsibility for the operation of the scheme for retail bookmakers. Operating as MOSES, the Multi Operator Self Exclusion Scheme this Senet subsidiary has helped several thousand players self exclude centrally. The MOSES website can be accessed here.

An approach based on Guidance and Best Practice

When the Senet Group launched it did so under-pinned by a set of eight Commitments given by our founding partners. Subsequent new funding partners signed-up to these commitments. A number of the Commitments related to the presentation of responsible gambling messages in all advertising done by partner companies. These commitment sat alongside a high impact advertising campaign launched in 2015 and which continues to run promoting moderation and highlighting the signs of problem gambling behaviours. Our campaign is running across TV, radio, print and digital media. To view the TV adverts and to find out more, go to our Advertising Campaign page.

Funding partners agreed to be bound by the following Enforceable Commitments:

1. Offers that are exclusive to new customers (including free bet and free money sign-up offers) may not be advertised on TV before 9pm, mindful of children and young people watching.
2. Gaming machines must not be advertised in betting shop windows.
3. Twenty per cent of betting shop window advertisements must be dedicated to responsible gambling messages.
4. Twenty per cent of the total area of all TV end frames, or an equivalent, must be dedicated to responsible gambling messages.
5. Ten per cent of the total area of all press adverts must be dedicated to responsible gambling messages.
6. All web and social applications must carry prominent responsible gambling messages, including messages on the homepage of major social media sites.
7. All players on gaming machines must be given the option to set time and money limits at the start of their gaming session.
8. All social media channels must carry regular standalone Senet Group advertisements.

Raising standards going forward

We refer above to an approach based on sourcing, developing and promoting best practice. We believe this approach allows us to work more innovatively with a broader community of stakeholders including trade bodies and businesses who are not currently funding partners. The approach will allow us to share best practice documents, guidance and checklists of templates that any operator can use to made services safer and fairer and to communicate more effectively with customers to prevent the risk of harm.

The original Senet Group “Enforceable Commitments” set out above should now be considered the best practice standard when it comes to presenting new offers, when managing what is displayed in retail outlet windows and in the presentation of responsible gambling messaging in business advertising.

A clear separation of roles in relation to “regulation and compliance”

Best practice in its various forms is not binding and the Senet Group seeks to make clear it is not a self-regulatory agency with compliance powers or complaint-handing arrangements. We believe it is helpful to have this clear distinction between Senet as a body raising standards through best practices developed in partnership with the sector and the Gambling Commission, the Information Commissioners Office and other statutory regulatory agencies. We would hope the work of the Senet Group complements and may significantly inform the regulatory actions of others.

Responsible Gambling