Gambling harm calls for responsibility from all involved stakeholders, especially the operators that package and offer real money products. Over the past decade, responsible gambling and safer gambling standards have become the slogan in the UK. GamCare introduced the safer gambling standard, which offers a reference for players looking to find trustworthy casinos committed to safe and fair gambling. This review provides an overview of GamCare, the Safer Gambling Standard and what it means for players in the UK.
What is the Safer Gambling Standard?
The Safer Gambling Standard was introduced by GamCare, a renowned charity organization dedicated to providing gambling support, advice, helpline, and resources for problem gamblers. It is an independent standard that land-based and online casino and sportsbook operators can use to measure how they have applied set policies to protect players. GamCare requires operators to meet ten key areas, further divided into 73 criteria that encapsulate a safer gambling policy. The standard examines promotions, advertising, minor (and vulnerable player) protection, and best practices.
How Is Safer Gambling Standard Implemented?
GamCare implements its Safer Gambling Standard using a thorough assessment of each operator’s procedures, policies, and control methods to protect players from gambling harm. In addition, the organization conducts staff interviews, website reviews and premise visits as part of the assessment. The process yields a report confirming outcomes and level of award given, and the results are then published on the operator’s gambling website. Casinos can also use the standard GamCare logo on their websites.
Safer Gambling Standard Assessment
The assessment procedure starts with a review of the operator’s license. To get a Safer Gambling Standard accreditation, or the right to use the GamCare logo, the operator must be offering a gambling product in the sovereign state and must have a valid gambling license from the UK Gambling Commission. GamCare will also review all existing procedures to protect players and awards operators with unique levels of the standard from Base Level to Advanced Level 3.
Operators will receive an award level reflecting the degree to which their responsible gambling policies are compared to the ideal provided by GamCare. Operators are tested across ten key areas with 73 criteria based on the technical, cultural and physical system, leadership, effective management, transparency, etc. As a result, GamCare operators are deemed the most trustworthy for UK punters. However, since the assessment process is tedious, several reputable online gambling sites have yet to undergo the GamCare assessment.
How Does Safer Gambling Standards Help?
Problem gambling is a significant concern in the UK, and reports estimate around 200,000 adults are suffering from severe compulsive gambling. Even so, operators can improve their policies and procedures to protect players from gambling harm. GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standards advocate for responsible gambling, transparency and fairness. The goal is to increase player awareness about the gambling harm and provide dependable solutions for those seeking help. Below are some of the benefits the Safer Gambling Standard has for UK punters:
- Protection of Minors – Operators must have adequate procedures and measures to identify and block all minors below 18. This includes conducting a thorough KYC process and ID monitoring to ensure no children gamble on the website.
- Legitimate Casinos – All operators with the Safer Gambling Standard seal have a legitimate license from the UK Gambling Commission, which holds the highest gambling standards and player protection measures.
- Self-Exclusion – Players will learn about GamStop and access free self-exclusion from all UK online casinos and sportsbooks. However, many online casinos with no GamStop in England also offer other measures, such as deposit limits, loss limits, cool-off periods, and more.
- Gambling Help – GamCare casinos and sportsbooks offer access to resources and helplines to help players with a gambling problem find professional help and regain control. Players can get advice from gambling experts and reformed addicts.
What It Means for Gambling Operators
Safer Gambling Standards are designed for operators focusing on protecting players from developing a gambling problem and providing help for those already afflicted by gambling harm. Operators that undergo the assessment and emerge with the Advanced Level 3 award are the most trusted and dedicated to player safety. Ideally, these are the best sites a UK player can join to play safely and find help and resources to navigate potential gambling harm. However, even the Base Level award implies the operator meets the minimum requirements for a safer gambling experience.
The standard has become an additional accreditation punters look for when joining casinos and sportsbooks. Without the Safer Gambling Standards seal, players assume the site doesn’t have enough procedures to ensure their customer is protected and may choose other credible operators with top-level Awards. In addition to attracting more players, operators with Safer Gambling Standards awards keep their players safe and prevent the chances of problem gambling. Player protection is vital in sustaining the sector and preventing stricter laws from the government and UKGC.
GamCare is UK’s leading charity organization dedicated to providing help and advice to problem players in England, Scotland and Wales. The foundation was launched in 1997 and offers resources, helplines, live chats and face-to-face advice to players with a gambling problem. GamCare also cooperates with the UKGC, other gambling-related startups, and licensed casinos to enforce the Safer Gambling Standard and protect players from the adverse effects of compulsive gambling. The organization maintains a support forum, counsels gambling companies, offers support chats and cooperates with gambling blockers to keep players safe.
The Safer Gambling Standards clarify how safe and reliable gambling games should operate, helping players choose casinos committed to safer gambling experiences. Players must review various other aspects of the casino, but a GamCare seal immediately eliminates the chances of joining a site with lacklustre measures. GamCare also conducts annual assessments, and the awards last for two years, after which a fresh review of all processes is due.