Interview with Catherine Sweet
Catherine Sweet is Head of Marketing and Communications at GamCare. She joined in 2016, and has worked across a variety of third sector organisations in several marketing and communications roles. Catherine has supported the development of GamCare’s Youth Outreach Programme as well as the development of a range of self-paced resources for those affected by problem gambling, and has helped to further develop GamCare’s digital communications channels.
Can you tell our readers more about GamCare?
GamCare operates the National Gambling HelpLine, providing information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling. Advisers are available seven days a week from 8am – Midnight on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org.uk. We also offer a range of free treatment across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as a moderated Forum and daily chatrooms so that people can speak to others experiencing similar issues and seek support.
GamCare also provides a range of training and accreditation, including for the gambling industry, as well as outreach programmes to reduce gambling-related harms and provide education around gambling risks.
How many people have you helped over the years?
In the last ten years alone, GamCare has supported well over a quarter of a million people affected by problem gambling. This includes gamblers themselves as well as family and friends who are impacted.
How can a player recognize the signs of problem gambling and perhaps at-risk gambling?
There are some key questions to keep in mind – are you betting more than you can really afford to lose? Have your friends or family criticised your gambling behaviour? Or do you feel guilty about your gambling? These are some of the indicators that gambling may be becoming a problem, and our self-assessment tool can also help individuals to better understand the risks connected to their gambling. The tool on our website is a series of questions that can outline some of the impacts of your gambling behaviour and signpost to help and support if needed. See the tool for more information.
Where is the line between at-risk and problem gambling?
Gambling problems are experienced across a spectrum, although issues can develop relatively quickly depending on personal circumstances. For many people gambling is not a harmful activity, but for some it can become a serious problem. We believe it’s important for people to properly understand the risks associated with gambling, and for them to be able to access timely advice and support to prevent a problem developing.
For anyone who would like to understand more about staying safe when gambling, you can visit the GambleAware website or you can talk to GamCare’s Advisers on the National Gambling HelpLine.
Let’s say that a player does not recognize that their behaviour is problematic. As for example, if you are suffering from an eating disorder you might not be the one to recognize the issue. How can family members or friends tell that someone has gambling issues?
It’s important for people to have open and honest conversations about gambling so that it becomes easier for people to spot warning signs of a problem developing, and to support loved ones who may be struggling to control their gambling. Warning signs may include spending that’s unaccounted for, withdrawal from other activities, spending lots of time on a phone or computer without saying why, or unexplained absence from work, home etc. See here for more information.
You also have self-help resources. Can you tell us more about that?
GamCare has designed these resources to assist anyone who has recognised that gambling may be an issue for them. If you have arrived at this realisation and have made the decision that you would like to change your relationship with gambling, the following workbook is designed to help you, working at your own pace. You can find out more here.
Are your services for the UK alone? Do you work with other international organizations? Do you exchange best practices with other organizations doing similar work?
Our support services are currently funded to provide help to anyone affected by problem gambling in England, Scotland and Wales. We work closely with the National Problem Gambling Clinic and Gordon Moody Association, and we also provide consultancy for other agencies providing support internationally.
Your website states that you have certificated and acknowledged 35 operators who meet certain criteria. How can players tell who is GamCare certified and acknowledged for the measures taken to protect players?
We have now introduced the Safer Gambling Standard, a quality standard for licensed gambling operators which recognises those operators who adopt good practice principles and processes to minimise harm from the products and services they provide. The Safer Gambling Standard is replacing GamCare Certification as the accreditation offered by GamCare from December 2018. All operators with current GamCare Certification will be able to continue to use the GamCare Certification logo until their certified period expires. Thereafter, the Safer Gambling Standard will be offered. For more information see here.
You have trainings in place for operators. How can gambling operators get trained and what is covered in these trainings?
You can find out more about our services for the gambling industry in our brochure available here.
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