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6. What does a successful responsible gambling intervention look like?

The challenge

We’re getting better at identifying risky behaviour but more needs to be done to intervene and provide help to keep the gambler from experiencing harm.

Retail shops are doing more and more to improve how interventions work – through additional training and better support. Online interventions are an even bigger challenge. And communities play an important role in this and can be an effective tool in helping people showing risky behaviours. This table discussed what makes a successful intervention and where the gaps are that need to be filled to get there.

The discussion

There was a real sense at the table of how challenging it is to change a customer’s behaviour. Nothing stops a customer from just walking away if they don’t want to hear it.

But everyone agreed that interventions do work. And it’s not just one intervention – it’s a consistent flow of repeated interventions that can make a difference. The table talked about four key elements that can make or break an intervention.

Early engagement is critical. An existing relationship is the most important factor in whether or not an intervention will be successful.

Staff training is also important - and not just within a single operator. There should be consistency across all operators to keep customers safe, no matter where they go. Part of that means finding the right staff and making sure they can relate to what a customer is experiencing.

And it’s critical that these interventions are timely – one expert suggested that it’s critical to reach out to the person within 48 hours of the gambling binge to offer help.

The final element is having clear and immediate steps for the customer to take, whether it means linking them directly with the right services or supporting them to use exclusion and control tools.

Top solutions

  • Build an ongoing dialogue around a customer’s gambling behaviours, before any risk is identified
  • Create a consistent staff training across the industry, to share and build on good practice and make sure customers are safe, wherever they choose to gamble
  • Set a target that all responsible gambling interventions happen within 48 hours of a ‘gambling binge’