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How to apply

The Standard

The Standard covers 10 areas, and up to 73 criteria, which are the foundation to building a safer gambling approach.

The assessment looks at 73 criteria, 52 of which are expected of businesses to meet the the Base Level Standard, with the remaining Advanced Level criteria measuring the degree to which businesses exceed the Base Level. Criteria are listed below but for full details, including guidance notes, please download the Standard document.

The Standard criteria

  1. To ensure the operator embeds a culture of safer gambling within its organisation and for customers through establishing effective policies and processes that are supported at the Board/Executive team level.

    1. The operator’s Board and Executive team shall demonstrate leadership in the area of safer gambling, be responsible for setting safer gambling Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and ensure that all messages explaining the operator’s approach to safer gambling are understood and acted upon by all areas of the business.
    2. The operator shall appoint a member of the Board with overall accountability for the organisation’s approach to safer gambling and the achievement of safer gambling KPIs.
    3. The operator shall implement and maintain effective assurance processes to monitor its approach to safer gambling. It shall also provide evidence that improvements in such processes are monitored, reviewed and evaluated at least annually. (30% of Advanced Level) This criterion is mandatory to reach Advanced Level.
    4. The operator shall establish and maintain effective staff appraisal systems that support the achievement of its safer gambling KPIs. Staff performance shall be evaluated against the achievement of objectives to minimise gambling-related harm and documented in each staff member’s annual appraisals/performance reviews. (5% of Advanced Level)
    5. (LAND-BASED) The operator shall make available its premises local area risk assessments in the premises to which they relate. The assessments shall be reviewed periodically, as a minimum annually, and updated where necessary.
    6. (LAND-BASED) The operator shall update its premises local area risk assessments when there are changes in the risk profile of each premises/local authority area. Such assessments shall include evidence to show that locally available knowledge which reflects local risks has been considered. (13% of Advanced Level)
    7. (ON-LINE) The operator shall not allow customers to gamble using credit cards. This requirement comes into force on 14 April 2020. Where credit cards are not prohibited by regulatory requirements prior to this date the operator shall evidence the controls which they have in place to mitigate the risk of customers gambling with money they do not have.
  2. The operator supports and promotes activities and good practices that work towards the eradication of gambling-related harm.

    1. The operator’s approach to safer gambling shall include collaboration with competitors and other organisations on the subject of preventing gambling-related harm.
    2. The operator shall be able to show the results of outcomes (including successes and failures) in respect of measures tested/implemented aimed at minimising gambling-related harm. (5% of Advanced Level)
  3. The operator provides an annual financial contribution to relevant organisations and/or charities supporting at risk and problem gamblers or through developing a safer gambling experience for their own customers, such as through the use of safer gambling tools.

    1. The operator shall make an annual external spend contribution of at least 0.1% of Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) to organisations that undertake safer-gambling-related research, education and training (commonly known as the RET Contribution).
    2. The operator shall evidence a minimum total annual external spend contribution of 0.2% of GGY in respect of research, education and treatment for the prevention of gambling harm. The level of annual contribution made will have a direct impact on the level of the Safer Gambling Standard award that can be achieved as follows: at least 0.2% of GGY to meet the requirements of Advanced Level 1, at least 0.5% of GGY to meet the requirements for Advanced Level 2, at least 1% of GGY to meet the requirements of Advanced Level 3 (10% of Advanced Level) This criterion is mandatory to reach Advanced Level.
  4. The operator has a proactive approach to ensure customers are of a legal age to gamble and has effective measures in place to protect young adults from gambling-related harm. 

    The operator has effective systems and controls in place to identify and interact with customers showing signs of vulnerability. 

    1. The operator shall publicly display information regarding the legal age to gamble to all customers.
    2. The operator shall implement and maintain a policy and procedure to prevent underage gambling which is evaluated for impact and reviewed as a minimum on an annual basis.
    3. The operator shall implement and maintain a policy and procedure to verify a customer’s age.
    4. If a customer is identified as underage the operator shall refund the original stake money and log an incident report.
    5. The operator shall verify the age of each customer in order to play free-play games.
    6. (ONLINE) The operator shall display links to recognised content filtering software.
    7. (ONLINE) The operator shall verify each customer’s identity and age upon registration.
    8. The operator shall apply risk indicators at lower levels for customers between the ages of 18 and 21 (16 and 21 for lotteries) and demonstrate how such indicators are used in minimising gambling-related harm to this age group. (8% of Advanced Level)
    9. The operator shall demonstrate action taken in minimising gambling harm amongst customers exhibiting behaviours that may indicate that they are vulnerable.
    10. Policies, training and systems and controls in place to identify and interact with vulnerable customers shall be monitored and reviewed at least annually.
  5. The operator has a proactive approach and effective processes in place to identify and interact with customers experiencing harm from gambling or those ‘at risk’ of experiencing harm.

    1. The operator shall implement and maintain effective policies and procedures to identify their customers who may have a gambling problem. These policies and procedures shall be evaluated for impact and reviewed at least annually.
    2. The operator shall appoint a dedicated ‘social responsibility role’ with Board level reporting responsibility to ensure that the issue of minimising gambling-related harm is handled effectively.
    3. The operator shall display and make customers aware of sources of help and support including as a minimum: a statement of the operator’s commitment to safer gambling; a message that gambling could be harmful if not controlled and kept in moderation; reference to relevant sources of help and website links for minimising gambling-related harm. This would include the GamCare National Gambling HelpLine number applicable to customers in Great Britain; advice and information on the availability of safer gambling player protection tools; and information on an accepted and simple safer gambling self-assessment process to enable the customer to consider their gambling behaviour. (ONLINE) The safer gambling web page shall be free from gambling advertising and promotions.
    4. (ONLINE) The safer gambling web page is accessible directly from the homepage of the website ‘above the fold’ on both desktop and mobile. (2% of Advanced Level)
    5. The operator shall have effective systems and controls in place to maintain and log all customer interactions.
    6. The operator shall establish a policy for acknowledging and responding to any third party notice of a customer experiencing harm from gambling.
    7. The operator shall tailor safer gambling interactions to each customer based on the customer’s risk profile. Such considerations shall be placed above commercial considerations including when dealing with groups such as the vulnerable, young adults, and high spending/VIP customers.
    8. The operator shall grant all customers free access to their account history where such data is available, including deposits, wagers and withdrawals.
    9. (ONLINE) The operator shall implement and maintain effective systems and controls to risk profile customers to identify customers experiencing harm from gambling and customers at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm.
    10. (LAND-BASED) The operator shall implement and maintain effective systems and controls to risk profile customers to identify customers experiencing harm from gambling and customers at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm depending on the type of gambling products provided.
    11. The operator shall be able to provide an evidence-based estimate of the percentage of its ‘at risk’ (AR) and ‘problem gambler’ (PG) customer-base and document the approach taken to calculate the percentage of each. (5% of Advanced Level) This criterion is mandatory to reach Advanced Level.
    12. The operator shall take effective measures to ensure that each customer has only one ‘live’ account, loyalty card or membership or link multiple accounts (products) to ensure a single view of each customer. (5% of Advanced Level)
    13. (ONLINE) The operator shall not offer a facility for customers to cancel withdrawals.
    14. The operator shall use the source of customer wealth to determine appropriate levels of spend. (5% of Advanced Level)
  6. The operator ensures that its products and tools provide an accessible form of gambling to its customers within an environment which minimises the risk of customers experiencing gambling-related harm, while identifying opportunities to further protect customers from gambling-related harm in the development of new tools.

    1. The operator shall implement and maintain effective controls to ensure that safer gambling is at the forefront of new product design including products that are designed internally or provided by external suppliers. This shall include ease of access to safer gambling information. Products shall also be deployed in environments which meet required regulatory requirements, minimise the risk of access from children, and do not promote high-risk behaviour such as incentivising the customer to continue to stake at increasing levels.
    2. (ONLINE) The operator shall offer the customer time and/or spend and/or loss limits as the default option from sign-up where customers need to opt-out if they do not wish to set limits.
    3. The operator shall demonstrate that they have prioritised the protection of the customer where vulnerability has been identified in ensuring that the customer sets time and/or spend and/or loss limits.
    4. (ONLINE) The operator shall record and monitor all requests to alter a customer’s previously set limits. (5% of Advanced Level)
    5. (ONLINE) The operator shall review and evaluate the impact of current safer gambling tools and the implementation of new safer gambling tools. (3% of Advanced Level)
    6. (ONLINE) The operator shall give customers the opportunity to opt-in to use each category of product the operator offers, for example, casino games, in-play betting etc. (3% of Advanced Level)
    7. The operator shall have a process in place for referral of customers displaying a high-level of vulnerability (e.g. threat of self-harm) to relevant sources of support.
  7. The operator actively safeguards customers from experiencing harm from gambling through implementing an effective approach to self-exclusion.

    1. The operator shall ensure that a customer is able to self-exclude from gambling at any time and for a minimum of 6 months. Information regarding the operator’s self-exclusion process shall be visible to the customer.
    2. The operator shall have joined a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme(s) relevant to its business activities.
    3. The operator shall communicate advice to the customer to self-exclude from all other betting and gambling activities and signpost the customer to relevant multi-operator self-exclusion schemes and support services (e.g. GamCare support).
    4. Upon self-exclusion, the operator shall close all customer accounts and memberships, and any outstanding balance should be returned to the customer. The operator shall remove the customer’s details from any operator and affiliate marketing lists.
    5. The operator shall establish and maintain a policy for customer reinstatement, including but not limited to a 24-hour cooling off period and no automatic account or membership reactivation.
    6. The operator shall demonstrate that customers returning from self-exclusion have been offered an interview to determine whether it is in their best interests to re-commence gambling. (2% of Advanced Level)
    7. The operator shall implement and maintain an effective system to prevent breaches of self-exclusion. Any breach attempts shall be recorded and monitored, and customers who attempt to breach are signposted to problem gambling support agencies such as GamCare.
    8. The operator shall provide a customer the option to take a ‘time out’. All time outs shall be recorded and monitored, and the customer advised of the distinction between time-out and self-exclusion.
    9. The operator shall review and evaluate for impact its self-exclusion policies and procedures, as a minimum, annually. (2% of Advanced Level)
  8. The operator’s approach to advertising and promotion, including social media, loyalty, bonus and free play schemes, align with its approach to minimising gambling harm.

    1. The operator’s advertising and promotions, including advertising content, shall be compliant with the relevant regulatory and advisory codes of practice.
    2. The operator shall demonstrate consistently going beyond advertising and promotions regulatory and advisory codes of practice in encouraging moderation, not trivialising risk, not encouraging the illusion of control or play, and not encouraging ‘machismo themes’. (2% of Advanced Level)
    3. If affiliates are used the operator shall implement and maintain effective systems and controls for the supervision of affiliates.
    4. The operator shall require customers to take a positive action to opt-in to direct marketing.
    5. The operator shall prioritise the protection of customers by no longer marketing to customers from the point that they have been identified as a high-risk of being harmed by gambling.
    6. The operator shall not coerce or imply that customers are obliged to take part in publicity.
    7. The operator shall establish and maintain a social media advertising policy that protects customers from gambling-related harm.
    8. The operator’s advertising policies shall be evaluated for impact on customer protection and reviewed at least annually.
    9. The operator’s terms and conditions of any loyalty or bonus scheme shall be compliant with the relevant regulatory and advisory Codes of Practice and shall be accessible to the customer throughout the duration of the campaign or scheme. Additionally, for online operators: (ONLINE) The operator’s terms and conditions of any loyalty of bonus scheme shall be no more than one click away in online advertising, and (ONLINE) Any refer a friend scheme shall be routed to the safer gambling page where the legal age to gamble of 18 and over (over 16 for a lottery) is stated.
    10. The operator shall not imply that participation in a loyalty or bonus scheme increases the customer’s chances of winning.
    11. (ONLINE) Operators who develop free-play games shall ensure that they are identical to real play games.
    12. (ONLINE) In addition to meeting the requirements in Item 8.11, free play games shall be designed to avoid the issue of desensitising and normalising playing at enhanced stakes in real money with gameplay restricted to lower amounts or fictional currency. (2% of Advanced Level)
  9. The operator ensures the quality, integrity and professionalism of its staff to enforce its safer gambling approach.

    1. The operator shall train all staff to ensure an awareness and understanding of problem gambling issues as well as available customer protection tools.
    2. The operator shall train members of staff that have contact with customers on how to recognise and interact with customers displaying behaviour that is indicative of problem gambling.
    3. The operator shall identify staff that require training on how to deal with escalated problem gambling issues that relate to their respective responsibilities. All Personal Management Licence Holders (PMLs) and Personal Functional Licence Holders (PFLs) shall also receive such training.
    4. The operator shall ensure that the type of training provided to staff in respect of safer gambling issues is relevant to their specific role and responsibilities.
    5. The operator shall customise its safer gambling training for specific groups of staff. (2% of Advanced Level)
    6. The operator’s training materials shall be reviewed at least annually and updated as required. The operator shall log training attendance and completion of training shall be evidenced and evaluated. (2% of Advanced Level)
  10. The operator embraces a culture of accountability and support to foster safer gambling amongst its staff.

    1. The operator shall ensure that information is made available to staff to highlight risks and encourage (and de-stigmatise) seeking help if they are concerned about their own or another staff member’s gambling behaviour.
    2. The operator shall implement and maintain policies and procedures to respond to a staff member that has a self-acknowledged problem with gambling.
    3. The operator shall review and evaluate its policies and procedures for staff problem gambling to assess their impact and update if appropriate. (2% of Advanced Level)

Download the Standard

Version 2 2020

Download the Standard document for full details on the assessment process and criteria.

Download the Standard

A constantly evolving Standard

The requirements of the Safer Gambling Standard are updated every year to build upon developments in regulation and player protection good practice.  Any business achieving the Safer Gambling Standard is required to keep pace with such developments if they are to continue to meet the Standard in future. See previous versions of the Standard. You can also download a document which explains the key changes between version 1 and version 2.

Why become accredited?

  • Support: Get independent advice on your performance
  • Benchmark: Our different levels show how you compare to other businesses in safer gambling
  • Prevent: Your accreditation fees are re-invested in GamCare's support and outreach services