Setting the Standard

GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard: One Year On

GamCare is the leading provider of information, advice and support for those affected by gambling related harms across Great Britain. Alongside operating the National Gambling Helpline, open 24-hours a day and offering a range of support and treatment services nationwide, they also use their expertise to provide training and accreditation for the gambling industry, including through the Safer Gambling Standard.

The Safer Gambling Standard was launched a year ago and working alongside the BSI, (British Standards Institution,) GamCare has ensured that the Standard is a recognised mark for gambling operators licensed in Great Britain: to date five gambling businesses have already completed and achieved the accreditation, with more en-route. Currently 20 operators are actively working with GamCare on achieving accreditation.

What does the Safer Gambling Standard evaluate?

The Standard looks at ten criteria for both land-based and online gambling operators:

• Corporate governance and risk management

• Collaboration and sharing best practice

• Operator spend on safer gambling, including the most recent percentage annual GGY contribution to organisation(s) that undertake research, education and treatment (RET) regarding gambling-related harms

• Protection of children, young adults, and vulnerable customers

• Customer information, profiling and interaction

• Product design and innovation in safer gambling tools, and the deployment of products in environments which minimise the risk of customers experiencing gambling-related harm

• Self-exclusion

• Advertising and promotion

• Staff training and development

• Addressing problem gambling amongst staff.

The assessment process involves a review of an operator’s policies and procedures, interviews with staff, website reviews and premises visits. It also examines a range of areas to get a true sense of an operator’s organisational culture, and how that culture is led from the top.

Those organisations achieving the Standard are reviewed every two years, however they are also encouraged to actively work on the recommendations provided from their assessment in order to meet additional areas of good practice in minimising gambling harm. GamCare also offers a range of training products which can support continuous professional development (CPD) for staff across the business and can additionally assist customer service teams to refer directly into support and treatment services where appropriate for customers.

How is the Standard keeping pace with the changing landscape of the gambling industry?

The Safer Gambling Standard has been developed from academic evidence in safer gambling practices, service user input, and GamCare’s knowledge and experience from over 20 years of work supporting those affected by gambling harms, plus the gambling industry itself.

An expert panel reviews the provisions of the Safer Gambling Standard each year to incorporate any changes in regulatory requirements and good practice guidelines, as well as feedback from GamCare service users and new insights from academic research. Updates to the Standard this year include amends to the section regarding the level of RET and internal spend contributions, as well as additional items regarding minimising harms in respect to vulnerable customers.

Bingo operators, such as the Buzz Group, have already achieved the Standard and GamCare are very happy to support others to get this underway. They offer a full scoping meeting with each operator to get to grips with the companies, sites and premises in their portfolio to fully understand the scale of the business, and to provide a practical approach to accreditation.

What does the Standard mean for customers?

The Standard is a quality mark which will help to demonstrate that gambling businesses strive to ensure a sustainable customer base, provide tools for their customers to safely manage their gambling and continually improve their processes to protect the young and vulnerable. The Standard recognises the operators who offer support to the customers they identify as experiencing gambling harms, provide board-level leadership in safer gambling, and continually assess the local area around their gambling premises so that they do not appeal to, or accept custom from, children or vulnerable people.

These operators will be recognised via a dedicated website launching this spring, with additional information on how customers can assess the companies they may wish to gamble with according to best practice in player protection and safer gambling.

For more information visit:

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Five reasons to apply for the Standard

1. Allows customers and the gambling industry to identify operators who have adopted high standards in safer gambling.

2. Operators will be able to see how they compare to others in the area of safer gambling.

3. Operators receive expert, independent advice throughout the process and a detailed assessment report upon completion.

4. The Standard is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure it continues to promote good practice and build upon developments in gambling regulation.

5. Fees paid towards accreditation go back into supporting those affected by gambling-related harms


This article was originally published in January 2020 in Bingo Life Issue 31 Spring 2020 ediiton