Broadcasters and gambling industry groups drew up proposals for a major responsible gambling advertising campaign to run for two years, with a budget of £5-7 million per year. The government welcomed this initiative, and GambleAware was invited to deliver the campaign.
We will update this page with progress, and welcome suggestions and feedback at any stage - please contact us via email at info@GambleAware.org.
Background to the campaign
In October 2017, when launching a consultaton on a wider policy review, the government announced a new responsible gambling campaign to be funded by broadcasters and the gambling industry, but independently delivered by GambleAware. The consultation document stated:
5.84. GambleAware, broadcasters and gambling industry groups have drawn up proposals for a major responsible gambling advertising campaign, to run for two years with a budget of £5-7 million in each year. This will include television adverts, including around live sport, as well as radio, cinema, print and online. The scale is equivalent to or larger than the scale of a major Government public awareness campaign. The aim will be to raise public awareness of risks associated with gambling, as well as signposting to further advice and support where necessary.
5.85. Proposals for the campaign involve new funding from online gambling operators, with airspace and digital media provided by broadcasters. The bodies which are members of the responsible gambling group, Senet, will continue to fund its existing messaging and responsible gambling advertising work but bring this in line with the wider campaign. We would encourage others who benefit from gambling advertising, including social media platforms and sports bodies, to look at how they can contribute to raising awareness of the potential risks.
5.86. GambleAware will lead the campaign, ensuring the content is independently approved and meets the campaign objectives. It intends to set up a Campaign Board and Delivery Unit, appointing an independent chair of the Board and approving all campaign content.
5.87. The Government welcomes the initiative by broadcasters and the gambling industry to fund and work with GambleAware to deliver a major responsible gambling advertising campaign.
The Campaign Board
GambleAware has created a Safer Gambling Campaign Board to oversee the campaign. The Board currently comprises:
Professor Antony C. Moss, BSc (Hons), PhD, Professor of Addictive Behaviour Science and Director of Education & Student Experience at the School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University acts as an academic adviser to the Board.
Justyn Larcombe also advises the Board, with the benefit of lived experience of gambling-related harm.
Attending in addition is a non-voting observer from the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling. Bodies which originally proposed the campaign to government and which are funding it in cash and in kind are also present as observers - the Advertising Association, the Senet Group and commercial Broadcasters (represented by Sky). The terms of reference for the Board make clear that only full members of the Board exercise voting rights. Minutes of these meetings will be published here:
The Campaign Advisory Panel
An advisory panel has also been formed to secure input from treatment providers, related charities, faith groups, sport, the gambling industry, and, most importantly, those with lived experience of problem gambling. This includes:
If you are interested in joining the Advisory Panel, please email info@GambleAware.org.
The Board has appointed creative agency M&C Saatchi to develop the safer gambling advertising campaign, with PR support from M&C Saatchi Sports and Entertainment added after a further competitive process.
The decision to select M&C Saatchi was based on their previous experience in public health, the quality of their pitch and its fidelity to the brief, the depth of their analysis and the expertise of their team. It followed a competitive procurement process, independently facilitated by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA). M&C Saatchi will be supported by Atlas Partners, GambleAware’s existing communications agency, who will design and deliver a complementary public relations campaign. Goodstuff has been appointed as the media buying agency, and FatMedia support delivery of elements of the digital marketing component.
We required all agencies identify any conflicts of interest through clients in the gambling sector or broadcasters Atlas Partners has been working with GambleAware since 2016 and does not and would not work with any other gambling companies or providers, and M&C Saatchi has had a "no gambling clients" policy since January 2016. Goodstuff have a wide range of clients and some do constitute potential conflicts so they have ensured that a completely separate teams will manage GambleAware's account, and confirmed that their contractual arrangements with other clients do not create commercial conflicts.
Revised Creative Brief and Research
The original creative brief and a supporting background briefing document provided to the agencies pitching were developed with input from both the Board and the Advisory Panel. The brief was also informed by research undertaken by two members of GambleAware's International Research Review Group, Professor Alexander Blaszczynski PhD & Sally Gainsbury PhD: Responsible gambling public education campaign for Great Britain: A brief scoping review.
In addition, the brief included a paper on behavioural change by Richard Chataway of CSG.
In preparing the initial brief we were mindful of the breadth of gambling activities and audiences, and advice that we needed to focus to make any measurable behavioural impact. Thus our initial focus on younger, active sports bettors because of the high levels of marketing spend and growth in gambling (especially online) around sport – although, dependent on funding, scope may broaden over time. There are 1.1 million problem and at-risk gamblers regularly betting on sport.
In reviewing proposals from the three short-listed creative agencies, the Board decided it needed to revisit the Creative Brief, and specifically to secure support from Public Health England and the equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales, for the underlying message of the campaign.
Public Health England subsequently advised that it would wish to hear the views of experts in the field what their recommendations were for the behaviour change that the campaign should seek to deliver.
The original brief was published above and an open invitation was issued for feedback.
The GambleAware campaign team and M&C Saatchi consulted with a wide range of academics, stakeholders and other relevant experts from around the world to develop a consensus in response to that request.
Focus groups were conducted with the target audience, and the report from these can be read here.
YouGov conducted a national survey of over 2,097 male gamblers aged 16-45, based closely on the DrinkAware Monitor survey. This enabled a segmentation exercise to analyse further the target audience and provide insights to guide the creative campaign, media and activation strategies. This research will be published after the campaign is launched (as it provides interesting PR opportunities to boost the campaign's impact) but is available, with the raw data in SPSS format, for researchers on request.
As a result of this process, a revised Creative Brief has been agreed by the board and can be downloaded here.
We continue to welcome views from those with an interest in our work and you can contact us about the campaign via email at info@GambleAware.org.
The "Bet Regret" Campaign
Bet Regret describes the universal feeling of remorse sports bettors often get when they make an impulsive bet – the kind of bet that bettors say they will know they will kick themselves for the moment they made it.
Targeted at the audience estimated at 2.4m young men aged 16-34 who gamble regularly on sport, mainly online, the campaign aims to drive self-reflection, as well as help their friends and partners recognise the warning signs of Bet Regret. The campaign was developed after extensive research, consultations with academic experts and several waves of focus groups with frequent sports bettors.
This campaign taps into the ‘I shouldn’t really, I’ll kick myself’ feeling immediately when a bet is placed when drunk, bored or chasing losses, provoking self-appraisal and self-reflection around such moments of ill-considered betting, with the aim of reducing the propensity to make such bets, and thus avoid behaviours that are obvious pathways towards problematic gambling.
Three TV commercials were produced by Gorgeous Productions to lead the campaign, directed by Chris Palmer.
There are also a wide range of other creative materials to support digital marketing across social media platforms, out-of-home advertising focused around pubs and sportsgrounds, perimeter LED boards at key football matches, and to support a forthcoming programme of community activation projects.
This campaign is just one part of the multi-layered public health approach required to reduce gambling-related harms.
Whilst there is a digital always on component strand to the Safer Gambling campaign, the first TV burst ran from 24 February to end April to align with the football season and start of the horse racing season. The TVCs were rotated across key sporting events with ‘Bored’ launching on 12 March to coincide with the Cheltenham Cup. This was supplemented by outdoor posters in stadia activity and pub screens as well as FA Cup perimeter (on matches screened by the BBC).
All activity has been closely monitored with a Tracking Study wave conducted at the end of the first tv burst (end April). Whilst it is early days, campaign results to-date are positive; indicating that the campaign is well targeted against those most at risk with good recognition and strong take out of the message. Summary of the results can be found here.