The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has announced the long-awaited replacement of the "When the fun stops, stop" safer gambling campaign in the UK.
BGC members will now encourage customers to "Take time to think” as their new central safer gambling message online and in retail promotions.
The aim of the new message is to promote safer gambling tools such as deposit limits, time-outs and self-exclusion, according to the BGC.
The changes come after academics questioned the success of the previous slogan and problem gambling specialists criticised it for prominently featuring the word "fun".
To find an appropriate replacement for the campaign, the BGC launched "extensive customer research" that showed the new message would be "even more effective".
The BGC research was split into three phases.
In the first phase, market researchers asked gamblers to keep diaries noting their gambling habits. The researchers then followed up with a series of telephone interviews and focus groups.
They found low-risk bettors "strongly" supported the gambling industry taking a unified approach to "subtly" reminding consumers to reflect on their gambling behaviour.
Second, the BGC ran a series of workshops with its key stakeholders, coming up with 12 possible responsible gambling messages.
In the final stage of research, the BGC asked 2,566 members of the public, 1,537 of whom were bettors, to evaluate the 12 slogans.
"Take time to think" emerged from this research as a "simple and not negatively framed" message, which the BGC sees as likely to have a broader appeal to all players.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said the new campaign message offered further proof of the industry's efforts to promote higher safer gambling standards.
"Our research has shown that the ‘Take time to think’ message will encourage even more customers to pause and consider whether to make use of the wide range of safer gambling tools that are available. That will enable them to stay in control of their betting," he said.
Dugher also believes the promotion of safer gambling tools shows a "stark contrast" between the efforts that licensed operators take to protect consumers and the "unsafe, unregulated black market online".
A new TV advertising campaign showing gamblers pausing mid-play to consider using safer gambling tools will be launched alongside the new slogan.
The BGC said it has worked with broadcasters and online platforms to help roll out the new campaign, which is funded by its members William Hill, Entain, bet365, Gamesys, Flutter, BetVictor, Betway, Kindred, Playtech, Betfred, PlayOjo, Betsson and Microgaming.
The BGC first announced in February 2020 it was looking to replace “When the fun stops, stop”.
The gambling industry-funded Senet Group, which was behind the "When the fun stops, stop" campaign, was dissolved the following April and its responsibilities taken up by the BGC.
Earlier, a Senet Group-commissioned evaluation of its campaign had been undertaken by market research firm Bilendi over the period 2015-2017.
This research led the Senet Group to state in The Week magazine that the campaign was "effective in reducing harm". But this position was rejected by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in 2018.
Former Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur also weighed into the Senet Group research, saying its claims about effectiveness did not "carry much weight".
Most recently, research published in August 2021, funded by the Commonwealth Fund, called into question the effectiveness of current forms of responsible gambling promotion.
The research challenged various assertions made by the Senet Group, including the success of its campaign and its self-described role as an industry watchdog.
“Our findings support that the ongoing use of the campaign and framing of the Senet Group as a previous industry standards ‘watchdog’ from which to build upon need to be questioned,” it said.