peaking at GamCare’s 14th Annual Conference, which had the theme of Extending Partnerships, he welcomed the new funding agreements between GamCare and the industry fundraiser, the GREaT Foundation, and went on to set the bar even higher.
“We in GamCare are clear about what can be achieved, and we have set ourselves a new and challenging target. Our aim is that by 2015: all adults who choose to gamble, and all teenagers and their parents, should know how to gamble responsibly; and everyone affected by gambling should have, and know how to get, access to information, advice and locally-delivered treatment.”
He said that this was achievable within the levels of funding which GREaT are committed to raise. He went on: “We believe our vision and aims are shared by the industry, by GREaT and by Government. Most importantly, their realisation will benefit everyone who is adversely affected by gambling which has got out of control.”
Lord Sharman’s optimism was shared by other speakers, which included Neil Goulden, the Chairman of the GREaT Foundation and Dominic Harrison, the CEO of Business in Sport and Leisure. It was also endorsed by Gambling Minister John Penrose who in a message to the conference said: “I am very pleased to see that the industry and the charities involved – the GREaT Foundation and GamCare - are rising to the challenge I set: to put in place an effective, voluntary system for encouraging responsible gambling, identifying and reducing the risks of gambling, and helping people affected by gambling. The speed with which agreement was reached by all to safeguard and develop the national helpline was impressive, and I hope we can make similar, quick progress on treatment, education and prevention as well.”
Following through the Partnership theme, GamCare’s CEO Andy McLellan challenged delegates to make their own commitments to building on existing partnerships and creating new ones in order to deliver the aim that GamCare has set.
GamCare also published its Annual Review 2011. Despite a standstill budget, the year saw considerable progress in services for those affected by gambling:
• The GamCare HelpLine now receives around 1000 calls a week
• GamCare’s team of professional advisers answers 85% of answerable calls
• 86% of callers rate the service as either Excellent or Very Good.
• Calls to the online, live chat helpline – the NetLine – showed a 53% increase on the previous year.
• The GamCare one-to-one counselling service now reaches 70% of the country, and online counselling is available to anyone, anywhere.
• More than 2,600 clients received counselling – a 26% increase on the previous year, despite a standstill budget.
• Around two-thirds of problem gamblers completing their course of treatment no longer score as problem gamblers at the end of their counselling.