GambleAware defends Tap-Out campaign

The charity emphasised that the campaign is not aimed at problem gamblers.
The charity emphasised that the campaign is not aimed at problem gamblers.

The recent campaign has been criticised by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling-Related Harm.

UK.- The grant-making charity GambleAware has defended its “Tap Out” campaign after receiving criticism from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gambling-Related Harm.

The charity’s latest initiative formed part of the relaunch of its Bet Regret campaign. It urges players to “tap out” of their phones and take time to consider before placing a bet.

The MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs the APPG, wrote to the charity to criticise the initiative.

She said that a public health campaign such as Bet Regret should not “simply encourage bettors to ‘Tap Out’ via a product which is still clearly designed to encourage people to bet rather than stop betting”. 

She said the campaign’s messages should instead aim to encourage bettors to stop betting completely, and should promote NHS health services or self-exclusion tools like GamStop and GamBan.

The APPG claimed that academics and public health experts had been “alarmed” by the ad and believed the option to ‘Tap Out’ was “effectively meaningless” for players at risk of gambling-related harm.

GambleAware chief executive, Mark Etches, has defended the campaign arguing that it targets frequent bettors but not players suffering from gambling-related harm.

He said the strategy for the campaign involved promoting minor behavioural changes that could encourage moderation, self-reflection and would raise awareness of risks. 

He noted that messages promoting treatment or mentioning gambling addiction could be “othering” through which viewers decide messages are aimed at people other than themselves.

He also explained that the charity aimed to reach players through channels they use and can relate to.

He also stressed GambleAware’s independence despite receiving funding from gambling operators

He said: “Gambling operators (and broadcasters) have been prevailed upon by DCMS to provide funding but our governance structure is designed to ensure complete independence from the industry, who are informed of plans after they have been set as a courtesy but have no involvement in decisions on campaign development.”

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