Fresh off the back of participating in the second Responsible Gambling Week, with the cross industry initiative taking place earlier this month (1-7 November), GamCare is casting glances ahead to its 21st anniversary next month.
The provider of information, advice, support and free counselling for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling previously spoke to CasinoBeats about current industry efforts, as well as what more can be done universally surrounding such issues.
“There has certainly been a change in the landscape of the gambling industry since GamCare started”
This time around the group’s CEO Anna Hemmings, first chose to focus upon what progress has been made during Gamcare’s relatively young life: “There has certainly been a change in the landscape of the gambling industry since GamCare started, however our core focus is still the same.
“We provide information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling across Great Britain, and we also work to minimise gambling-related harms by providing a range of training, consultancy and targeted outreach work.
“In the last ten years alone, we have supported well over a quarter of a million people affected by problem gambling, via the National Gambling HelpLine and a variety of treatment interventions across our network.
“We’ve also trained thousands of people to better identify the signs that someone is experiencing gambling-related harms, and signpost them to the support they need, and our Youth Outreach Programme has already reached more than 4,600 young people and 1,100 professionals supporting them. We’re now expanding this to cover more areas of Great Britain.”
Before going on to focus upon what steps have been taken during the almost 12 months of her own tenure: “Since I started in January, we have launched our new organisational strategy for the next three years – this is available on our website if you want to have a read. We have worked hard in various ways to transform the organisation, so it is fit for purpose in the current climate.
“Our biggest priority is always ensuring that the people who need our help can access support and treatment easily, free of charge”
“We have a new senior management team, a new model of care and innovative new ideas around how to develop our support services. We also have a whole new suite of products and training courses designed for the gambling industry, with the option to transfer callers directly to the National Gambling HelpLine, and our Safer Gambling Standard will replace our current certification soon. All of these aim to drive up standards in responsible gambling and player protection. It’s been a busy year so far!”
As GamCare closes in on its 21st anniversary, Hemmings concluded by looking at what lies a little further ahead, and what the organisation’s goals are moving forward: “Our biggest priority is always ensuring that the people who need our help can access support and treatment easily, free of charge.
“Currently, it’s estimated that around 2% of the people affected by problem gambling are seeking treatment. We are working hard to reduce the barriers people may experience in reaching out for help, in order to increase the number of people we support over the coming years.
“We are also aiming to increase our engagement with ‘hard to reach’ groups, as while they don’t frequently access our services, their need may be more acute. This includes those within the criminal justice system, BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) groups, as well as women.
“We do want to encourage people to engage with us sooner”
“This goes hand in hand with increasing the range of treatment options we can provide. The more choice we can offer to our clients, within a solid evidence base, the better. Our treatment options are high-quality, and our outcomes are very good, so when people do engage with us we can certainly help them.
“However, we do want to encourage people to engage with us sooner, many of the people accessing our services are at a crisis point, and we recognise the need for earlier interventions.
“Increasing awareness of problem gambling, and the ways that people can access support, is key. This encompasses at-risk gamblers too – we want to prevent problems from escalating any further. We have captured all this and more in our new organisational strategy. It’s going to be a busy few years!”