Responsible Gambling

One year from the launch of Playing Safe how has it been received by the Casino industry?

Playing Safe has been very well received and we expect the level of acceptance to continue to increase as operators see that it adds differential value to casino operations.  The industry owns Playing Safe.

The attendees were a veritable who’s who of the British Gaming Industry. You must be delighted with the support that NCF has gained from the independent and major Casino operators.

We were delighted.  The industry has put an enormous amount of effort into Playing Safe and being able to tell such an esteemed audience about it was very rewarding.  It also demonstrated to operators that their faith and commitment to Playing Safe is being recognised and acknowledged.

Your welcome speech set the tone for the rest of the evening and the follow on speech from Philip Graf.

I think what was clear from both speeches is that the industry and the regulator are increasingly aligned on what is needed to improve player protection and to secure regulatory change for the industry. 

Can you explain to readers SENSE Self Enrolment National Self Exclusion, how does it work?

SENSE is the first national self-exclusion scheme for an entire sector of the gambling industry.  Actually, it’s a world first for any sector to take this on and produce a scheme without government support.  This is industry led, industry funded and industry operated.

For a customer, who is experiencing problems with their gambling and who believes they will be helped by excluding themselves from casino gambling, they will receive exactly the same advice wherever they enrol in the scheme and will be immediately excluded from all casinos in the UK.  Their photograph and basic biographical details will be circulated locally, but will be searchable nationally.

For operators, it means access to an easy to use effective web based system that operates in ‘real time’ and is as effective for small single business operators as it is for the major companies.   We will be publishing more material about the system after the testing phase concludes towards the end of the year.

An important element of the scheme will be that for the first time care service providers will be able to enrol clients directly to the scheme.

What are the core elements of the Code of Practice on Responsible Gaming?

All of the major and many of the smaller operators have existing RG schemes.  We are working to establish the core components of a RG programme, setting out a standardised approach.  We know that many operators go beyond what the law requires and we want to ensure that our customers are aware of this. 

We have identified seven key components for a programme and we intend that an expert accreditation, certification and evaluation (ACE) panel will look at individual programmes and ensure that they meet or exceed the standard of the core programme.

We’re very excited about the role of the ACE panel in what it can deliver for the industry.

This industry lead responsible gambling programmes agenda, makes for a very busy year ahead?

It is kind of you to recognise the work we have done and what we have achieved.  It has been hard work and we have set ourselves a demanding agenda for 2015 – particularly around getting SENSE fully operational – but we have no illusions about the need to change the political perceptions of gambling.  Our experience tell s us that unless we are really clear about the way forward on responsible gambling and can demonstrate the commitment of the business leaders to it, we are not going to give the government – whichever party wins the lection – the confidence to make change.

Casino gambling is the safest form of gambling with the highest levels of engagement and protection.  We need to build on that and ensure everyone who matters knows about it.

Have you anything else you would like to add.

We hope that all the sectors in the gambling industry use the IGRG as a vehicle to share experiences and bring cross sector initiatives to the table.  We will.