Betting and Gaming Council Takes Over From Senet

The Senet Group has announced that it will be handing over its assets and responsibilities to recently formed standards body, the Betting and Gaming Council. Senet served as an independent body, which aimed to improve standards in the gambling sector. The BGC will now continue Senet’s work to make gambling fairer and safer across the industry.

Liverpool football fans cheer at a stadium match.

Senet has been responsible for a number of successful initiatives, including the famous ‘When the Fun Stops Stop’ campaign. ©Tembela Bohle/Pexels

Allowing Gamblers to Self-Exclude

Senet was launched in 2014 to raise gambling industry standards and support UK regulator, the Gambling Commission. The group was originally founded by four of high street’s biggest bookmakers; Ladbrokes, William Hill, Gala Coral and Paddy Power.

Senet went on to expand its membership, bringing in many leading operators, including from the rapidly growing online sector. This allowed Senet to have a direct influence on gambling industry practices and to push companies to be fairer.

“The collaborative ethos at the heart of the new Betting and Gaming Council now offers the opportunity to combine resources to deliver safer gambling initiatives at scale. It is vital that the industry is at the core of solutions to protect its customers. Senet’s role in bringing the industry together and leading initiatives to protect its customers and secure its own sustainable future has added significant value.”Gillian Wilmot, Chair, Senet

One of Senet’s best-known campaigns is the MOSES retail self-exclusion scheme. Launched in 2015, the ‘Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme’ provides gamblers with the option to block themselves from gambling services, primarily physical betting shops. MOSES will now continue as its own independent organization.

Since MOSES was founded, many more self-exclusion schemes have been created. Services like SENSE allow users to ban themselves from UK casinos. GAMSTOP is another scheme, which enables self-exclusion from multiple online gambling services. Recently, the Gambling Commission made it a requirement that all online operators must participate in the GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme by March 31st.

Since then, two operators have already fallen foul of the new rule. Dynamic and Sportito have both had their licenses suspended for failing to comply, although Sportito’s suspension has now been lifted as it has since integrated the scheme. The Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, explained why such immediate action was taken against the two operators.

“Self-exclusion is an important tool to protect vulnerable consumers, which is why we made it compulsory for all online operators to be signed up to GAMSTOP by 31 March.  We took action because the operators had not complied by the deadline, which placed vulnerable consumers at risk.”

When the Fun Stops Stop

The British public will also remember Senet’s ‘When the Fun Stops Stop’ messaging campaign. Accompanied by the Bad Betty TV ads, the campaign encouraged bettors to think twice about betting when angry or frustrated. Viewers were also told to seek advice from GambleAware if they felt that their betting was no longer in control.

The campaign also offered useful tips in print, digital and social media. Slogans included ‘set your limits at the start’, ‘only bet what you can afford’, ‘never chase your losses’ and ‘never put betting before your mates’. The campaign was a success, helping more than a third of frequent gamblers to control their gambling.

April 2019 saw Senet launch a collaborative project, with the purpose of further pushing industry reform. The project examined concerns around the impact of gambling on vulnerable people. The result of this project was published in November 2019 by the BGC. The Safer Gambling Commitments package was widely endorsed and served as a springboard for the brand new BGC as it launched.

The five safer gambling commitments are as follows; ‘Prevent underage gambling and protect young people’, ‘Increase support for treatment of gambling harm’, ‘Strengthen and expand codes of practice for advertising and marketing’, ‘Protect and empower our customers’ and ‘Promote a culture of safer gambling’. CEOs from the UK’s most prominent gambling firms pledged to adhere to these commitments to make gambling safer for everyone.

“The cross-industry collaborative approach pioneered by Senet became a blueprint which made the creation of the new Betting and Gaming Council possible. I would like to thank the Senet board, headed by Gillian Wilmot, and the team led by Sarah Hanratty for their hard work, dedication and the legacy they leave through the Safer Gambling Commitments, which provide a roadmap for raising standards across our industry. We look forward to building on that work.”Brigid Simmonds, Chair, BGC

Since it’s launch, the BGC has gone on to spearhead a number of successful initiatives. These include the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban, which prevents gambling ads from being aired during live sports, as well as enhancing ID and age checks. The BGC also helped to bring exclusive screening rights for FA Cup games to an end and will be instrumental in implementing the new credit card ban. The BGC will take over from Senet on April 8th.

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