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Safer gambling tips for re-opening gambling premises after lockdown

Safer gambling during covid-19

The Gambling Commission has provided guidance for land-based gambling businesses re-opening their premises after lockdown.

This guidance advises businesses that they are still expected to follow the Commission’s customer interaction guidance (issued in July 2019), which aims to minimise the risk of customers experiencing harms associated with gambling via three key outcomes: Identify, Interact and Evaluate.

GamCare would also like to add to these recommendations for land-based gambling businesses. If your premises has re-opened, or is about to following lockdown, in order to provide a safer gambling environment for customers we recommend that:

  • you re-visit the information provided in your safer gambling literature. Given the current climate you may wish to place emphasis on some key messaging for your customers:
    • encouraging them to take regular breaks
    • advise them to monitor on how much they are spending, and where possible set limits on gaming machines
    • refer them to any websites or applications you have whereby they can obtain self-help in case they’re uncomfortable about speaking with you directly
    • remind them of all the safer gambling tools you have available
  • you ensure that customer interactions are still carried out as necessary, with added regard given to customer and staff safety. When you need to carry out these interactions, take the customer to an area that is private but can also ensure social distancing is in place. If it is not possible to carry out an interaction with a customer at a particular time, monitor and record your observations of the customer’s behaviour from a distance.
  • you consider a handover shift document for employees, advising of those customers who have been monitored so your colleagues have a full record of the customer’s behaviour.
  • if you have the information and facility, consider giving the customer a call or dropping them an email to check in on them*
  • you consider making safer gambling literature available in more areas of your premises, and more prominent, as well as pointing customers to it.
  • you consider adding on-screen safer gambling messaging to your gaming machines (or speak to your supplier about this, if it is not within your control).
  • you consider re-visiting your local risk assessments and update/amend where required.

Don’t forget that the National Gambling Helpline is here to provide confidential information, advice and support for anyone affected by gambling harm in England, Scotland and Wales.

The Helpline is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week on Freephone 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at

>> Read the Gambling Commission’s full guidance for land-based gambling businesses re-opening their premises after lockdown (issued 12 June 2020).

*Under GDPR you can not directly contact a customer to offer your services if they have opted out of marketing preferences. If however, a customer is showing signs of problem gambling and you contact them to offer guidance and help, this is permitted providing the customer has given their details and you feel the customer is at risk. If you are in any doubt about what you can and can’t do under GDPR, please visit for further advice.

July 2020