GamCare HelpLine launches Freephone trial
2 April 2012
From Monday 2 April, anyone needing help with a gambling problem can call the GamCare HelpLine free on 0808 8020 133. GamCare and the Responsible Gambling Trust have launched a one year trial of a new Freephone number for the national helpline which provides confidential advice and support to anyone who needs help with gambling related problems.
Andy McLellan, Chief Executive of GamCare, said:
‘This Freephone trial marks an important new step for GamCare. Our low cost number has been in place for nearly 15 years and receives nearly 700 calls a week. But technology has moved on rapidly in that time, in particular the rise in the use of mobile phones. This new number means that our services will be completely free to all callers from land lines and most mobile users, so no-one needing help should have to worry about the cost of the call.’
The move to a Freephone trial is at the request of the Responsible Gambling Trust, the new charity formed following the merger of the GREaT Foundation and the Responsible Gambling Fund, which raises money from the gambling industry to fund the helpline.
Marc Etches, Chief Executive of the Responsible Gambling Trust, said:
‘Freephone is one of the new services the Responsible Gambling Trust asked GamCare to trial as part of the three year funding package we agreed last year. That deal sets targets for continuous service improvement which GamCare is confident it can meet. The gambling industry takes very seriously its commitment to support those people who need help and the industry will expect a full and thorough evaluation of the trial to ensure that funding is used efficiently to maximise positive outcomes.’
For the period of the trial, both the current GamCare number 0845 6000 133 and the free number 0808 8020 133 will be in operation . Callers will be connected to a professional adviser who will be able to offer immediate support and refer on to GamCare’s free national treatment services or other agencies. GamCare’s NetLine – the online helpline – will be unaffected, and can be accessed through www.gamcare.org.uk
Conscious of the need to minimise marketing and publicity costs for the industry, GamCare has worked closely with the main industry associations to promote Freephone to the widest audience but at minimum cost.
For the period of the trial, industry operators are asked to include the new Freephone number 0808 8020 133 on their websites and on all new, non –broadcast, promotional materials with a shelf life of less than one year. Some companies may also run the Freephone number on television advertisements as well – this is an excellent way for us to reach non-gamblers who may have partners or friends who need help but don’t know who to contact.
Operators are not asked to take existing promotional material with the existing GamCare number out of circulation or to change the GamCare stickers on slot machines. The existing 0845 number will continue to be answered during the trial, and callers will be given the option of redialling the Freephone number.
More detailed information on the Freephone trial is available at: www.gamcare.org.uk
For more information on GamCare services please visit www.gamcare.org.uk .
Mandy Barrie, GamCare, 020 7801 7058, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
1. GamCare is the national provider of education, advice, practical help, support and treatment for anyone affected by problem gambling. Founded in 1997, the GamCare helpline receives nearly 1000 calls per week with 85% of clients rating the service as “very good” or “excellent”. In 2010/11 we treated more than 2,600 clients. 90% of gamblers in treatment are assessed as problem gamblers; this reduces to around 30% at the end of treatment. GamCare’s return on investment is very high at 7:1.
2. The majority of GamCare’s funding is from voluntary contributions from the gambling industry now collected by The Responsible Gambling Trust, the body formed following the merger of The Responsible Gambling Fund and The GREaT Foundation. For more information in GamCare’s work and how it is funded visit http://www.gamcare.org.uk/pages/faqs.html.
3. Information on The Responsible Gambling Trust, from 2 April can be found at www.responsiblegamblingtrust.org.uk
4. GamCare supports best practice within the gambling industry through training, GamCare Certification, consultation and training. GamCare Certification is an internationally recognised third party accreditation available for gaming, betting and lottery products across land-based, mobile gaming and internet platforms. GamCare training is face-to-face or via GamCare ExTra e-learning.