The national gambling support charity, GamCare, has created a new code of conduct that tells gambling companies how to communicate safer gambling information to their customers.
GamCare is a charity that supports people with gambling problems in Great Britain. They run the National Gambling helpline via telephone and also online and also provide treatment for gambling addicts.
The charity also supports the gambling industry and helps them produce safe gambling advice and training programmes for social responsibility and player protection.
The charity sets the Safer Gambling Standard. This is the best practice standard for the UK gambling industry. It is designed by the gambling industry, in collaboration with GamCare.
All gambling websites now offer not just advice, but also a set of tools for safer gambling on their websites. These can include time and money limits on play, self-exclusions and monitoring options.
The new code from GamCare sets standards for how sites should display information about these tools, and links to off-site help and advice around gambling.
Designed in concert with and after consultation with the Betting and Gaming Council as well as with gamblers and their loved ones who have experience of gambling harms, the code is said to simplify finding and using this information.
The code will now become a standard for those companies that are members of the BGC. Those companies have until September to follow their rules.
That will mean that information on safer gambling, both on sites and via third-party organisations like GamCare will be more visible, more prominent and more consistent. The aim is to make it easier to find help and clearer where that help can be found.
Anna Hemmings, the CEO of GamCare, said: “We know that only a small proportion of people affected by gambling harms in Great Britain come forward for support each year.”
“By setting minimum standards for the display of safer gambling information for the online sector, we are looking to improve the consistency of information display, and reduce friction for customers so that they can readily access tools to help them manage their gambling, and to access free, specialist support whenever it might be needed.”
The UK Gambling Commission is carrying out a review of affordability at the moment, and a major review of gambling laws is due to be published later this year and acted on in 2022. The government is under pressure to introduce restrictions of some sort after a huge explosion in gambling in the UK in the past 15 years or so.
The pandemic has put extra focus on safe gambling, and the UKGC has asked companies to be especially vigilant around signals of problem gambling behaviour. The UK GC, the UK’s only gambling regulator, has also brought in new regulations limiting some features of online slots, the UK’s favourite online flutter.
Brigid Simmonds, chair of the BGC, says: “As the standards body representing the regulated betting and gaming industry, the BGC is committed to promoting safer gambling.
“A report last week from the Gambling Commission suggested that ‘problem’ and ‘at-risk’ gambling rates fell in 2020, but one gambler experiencing harm is one too many.”
She welcomed the report and said her members would be implementing the new standard.