Bookmakers sign up to voluntary watchdog

The Senet Group wholeheartedly believes in the power of high impact campaigns as they have mostly structured their company around campaigns involving the core issues the group advocates. The slogan was designed to highlight the warning signs of problem gambling and the benefits of staying in control. Due to its relative youth, the Senet Group have only launched two significant campaigns to date: Ladbrokes ads banned for 'irresponsible attitude towards gambling'. These commitments must be made by all new members and result in fines and "name and shame" tactics from the group when not fulfilled. Most familiar with online gambling regulation recognize eCOGRA and their familiar logo frequently placed along the bottom of their members' offerings but the Senet Group is hoping their logo and repuatation can reach the same recognition as they continue to sign the most elite brands on the web.

Member Commitment

But for any such watchdog to have credibility it should be neither industry-run nor industry-funded. The industry continues to face regulatory challenges on several fronts. Ministers have resisted campaigners' calls for a simple reduction of the maximum stake, instead preferring a measure that would require high-stakes players to seek permission of shop staff before the bet is accepted.

The Gambling Commission, the industry's main regulator, is consulting on tough new licensing standards that could include a social responsibility code and advertising restrictions. Separately, planning reforms could lead to betting shops being put into a new use class, potentially making it harder to secure permission for new sites. The establishment of the Senet Group echoes pro-active moves by the Portman Group, the drinks industry trade body, to set voluntary standards on branding and advertising and to fund awareness-raising adverts, in the face of public concern about binge drinking.

Family-owned Betfred, which has 1, betting shops after buying state-owned Tote shops three years ago, is not a signatory to the Senet Group, but a spokesman said the business remained in discussions about signing up. The bookmakers are hopeful that online operators will also get involved.

James Henderson, chief executive of William Hill, said: A Ladbrokes spokesman said: The hashtag gamblesmart was used to promote videos and other digital content highlighting the value of responsible gambling. The campaign ran from November to Decemeber running across all major social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook - you can see them all here. Senet Group members were required to frequently promote and share the videos as well particpate in a three day poster promotion.

The members were required to devote their shop windows to the distinctive yellow and black campaign posters for three days starting 16 November. In order to reach their goals of monitoring and enforcing compliance within the online gambling industry, the Senet Group seeks commitments from their members regarding their campaigns, which mostly include advertising restrictions and any other measures needed to protect the players. These commitments must be made by all new members and result in fines and "name and shame" tactics from the group when not fulfilled.

The Senet Group's foundation is the members as the entire body relies on these members' commitment to the campaigns as well as participation in the dedicated campaigns. Without the members participation, the regulatory body simply becomes a fining machine. Fortunately, the founding group members understood it was up to them and fellow global gambling brands to curb problem gambling with the help of these regulatory bodies like the Senet Group. But the aim of the regulatory body is to go well above these standards in order to make the United Kingdom the leading iGaming hub in the world.

Since its launch, the Senet Group has rapidly expanded in terms of members as well as overall reputation. The group is currently made up of some of the most elite gambling brands on the planet including its founders - William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral , and Paddy Power - as well as newcomers Betfair, Scotbet. In early , the Senet Group broke out into the budding online bingo industry signing the heralded Gala Bingo as a member.

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