As part of Safer Gambling Week, we caught up with William Mace, Director of UK Safer Gambling, to find out what the campaign means to William Hill and the wider industry.
Player safety is a constant focus for the whole of the gambling industry in the UK. In many ways, every week is a player safety week, and every day is player safety day. It may seem odd therefore to declare a particular week as Safer Gambling Week but doing so serves a useful and important purpose.
At William Hill, we use Safer Gambling Week as a chance to step back from the day-to-day business activity, and instead focus on talking to each other and to our customers about the many components of safer gambling. We do this throughout the year, but this week sees a real concentration on player safety, which does a huge amount to reinforce and elevate the discussions we are having, and messages we are sending, throughout the year.
During Safer Gambling Week, we talk to our customers about how they can play within their comfort zone. We remind them to set limits and to take breaks. We remind them not to chase their losses and that gambling is a form of entertainment and should not be looked at as a way to make money. This year, that particular message is more important than ever, as the cost-of-living crisis is seemingly upon us, and more and more people are struggling financially. We tell our customers about the tools we have available to help them stay within their comfort zone, and how to find support if they want it.
By setting aside a specific period to focus on safer gambling messages, we find that they achieve much greater impact and reach, in an age where even the most important of messages can get lost in the general noise. It is always very heartening that when we measure the impact of Safer Gambling Week, we find that more and more customers are seeing and taking note of the key messages.
At William Hill, we also use Safer Gambling Week to talk to our colleagues about player safety, and how it directly relates to every part of our business. We organise workshops, webinars, discussion sessions and senior leader forums to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn more about safer gambling. Our colleagues are encouraged to share their experiences and initiatives by participating in discussions about what we are, can and should be doing. Everyone comes away from the week of events full of renewed determination to do more to keep our players safe from risk of harm.
So how do we support at risk players? We use a variety of tools, including behavioural analytics, to identify changing patterns of play and particular markers of harm. Alongside the knowledge and invaluable experience of our retail colleagues in shops, we can help identify when a customer might benefit from a cup of tea, a friendly chat, or further channels of support. We are constantly evaluating and evolving our approach to make it as effective as possible.
Player safety is fundamental to our business and is at the heart of the relationship we strive to have with our customers. We want customers to enjoy our products and experience the thrill of gambling in an environment that is free from any risk of harm. Safer Gambling Week provides a focal point to something that is in constant focus throughout the year.
For more information, visit http://safergamblinguk.org.