GamCare details?! On a bingo site?!? Bingo’s not proper gambling is it?
Ok – it’s very easy to look at it like this and it does tend to be most people’s initial reaction. It sort of falls within the same realms as buying a lottery ticket, scratch card or raffle ticket for your local school funds. But if you are placing real money on an undetermined outcome in the hope of winning more back (money or a product) – then its gambling.
Of course there’s no harm at all in attending your village bingo event once a month. Or buying a scratchcard or lottery ticket. Or maybe a couple. Or even five. What about ten? Ten a couple of times a week? Ten every day?
And this is the difficulty. Where is that defining line between “just a bit of fun” and “gambling problem”? The truth is that no-one can specifically answer that question.
So who are GamCare?
Gamcare are a UK based charity who deal specifically with gambling addiction. While we are obviously discussing the subject of bingo on this site, they look at gambling and the related industry as a whole. The emphasis though is not just on ‘curing’ addicts – also on prevention. So it’s also about ensuring responsible gambling. Because of this they have two different – though connected – roles or aims:-
Help with gambling problems.
GamCare offer a free service to help anyone who feels they have a gambling problem. They have various means of helping such as a phone line, online help and face to face counselling.
Their forum is also a popular – and easy to access – means of getting or giving help and advice.
A specific group of people they concentrate on helping is the under 18s through their associated Big Deal site.
You can find all the information you need by going to their site which is full of useful information as well as ways to make contact.
Regulating the industry.
GamCare are probably the largest UK independent gambling regulators – with ‘independent’ being the operative word. They have no legal authority to enforce or shut down – though they do have a voice loud enough to be heard!
So how do they do this? Well they offer certification to gambling operators who provide the following:-
- correct and relevant staff training.
- age verification.
- limits on time spent.
- limits on money spent.
- self exclusion facilities.
- responsible gambling info.
- sources of help.
This may apply (in our case at least) to either online bingo sites or bingo halls. Upon receiving the certification an operator may display the GamCare logo – and not until. “We are in the process of applying…” or “We support…..” won’t do. Even we can’t display the logo on this page!
The relevance to bingo players.
Many of you who have found your way onto this page will now be saying something to the effect of:-
“Very interesting – but what has this to do with me?”
Well to the minority of people who feel they have a problem this help could be invaluable. And to the rest of us? It’s highly unlikely that your decisions when choosing a new online bingo site will be based on your ability to get help when you become addicted!!!
Consider GamCare certification to be a form of quality mark. As stated, it is not a legal requirement in the UK like a gambling licence. So not everyone will ‘bother’. It will take time and money to achieve. So certification says several things:-
- “We have enough money behind us to afford to implement this.”
- “We are professional enough to want to implement this.”
- “We understand our responsibilities and take them seriously.”
- “We are more interested in our long term view of regular custom than short term profit.”
- “We care about our customers.”
Hopefully you see our point. If you see the GamCare logo on a bingo site then it won’t guarantee that you will enjoy playing their games. But it will guarantee that it’s a professional site – which goes a long way.