THE NATIONAL CASINO FORUM HAS CEASED OPERATIONS 

 

The National Casino Forum (NCF) has officially closed.

Since the establishment of the British Gaming Association (BGA) in 1968 land-based casino operators have created a legacy of collaboration via its trade body. In 2009 the National Casino Forum (NCF) took over from the long-standing British Casino Association (BCA) and four years later was joined by the Casino Operators Association (COA).

AGM meeting of the British Gaming Association 1980

AGM meeting of the British Gaming Association 1980

The NCF is the sole trade body representing all land-based casinos in the UK. Under the leadership of its CEO Tracy Damestani the NCF grew to be pivotal in uniting all operators in the sector, devising, improving and promoting best practice standers in safer gambling, player protection and crime prevention. The NCF was the first trade body to introduce a National Voluntary Self Exclusion (SENSE) system and developed the Playing Safe Principles; it has been instrumental in the procurement of and collaboration with international researchers to develop algorithmic identifiers in the pursuit to improve safer gambling.

A few highlights from the casino sector

NCF Social Responsibility and Safer Gambling

SENSE

Tracy Damestani, CEO of the National Casino Forum, pioneered and developed the Sense National Self-Exclusion Scheme in August 2015, the first UK Self-Exclusion system in the Gambling industry. This web based system operated across all UK Land-Based Casinos enables people who believe they have a problem with their gambling to voluntarily exclude from all UK casino premises in a simple and transparent way. Nearly 20,000 customers have enrolled in the scheme since its inception.

As of the 1st January 2020 Sense will be operated by the Betting and Gaming Council and can be contacted at sense@bettingandgamingcouncil.com or by phone on 0203 409 2047

Playing Safe

Playing Safe was created and developed  by the NCF to improve player protection and aim to tackle  issues caused by gambling harms. Playing Safe produced surveys, evaluations and academic reports into gambling addictions and gambling related harms, and ran workshops and forums to help educate the industry, politicians and stakeholders on protecting players from harms caused by gambling such as debt, mental health in conjunction with Mind and The Alzheimers Society. NCF/Playing Safe also collaborated with Kings College London on projects concerning specific community groups.

ACE Accreditation

The National Casino Forum was at the forefront of ensuring that the UK Casino sector was the first UK Gambling sector to have its responsible gambling credentials tested and accredited. These assessments were devised and conducted by the accreditation, evaluation and certification panel, ACE, and reports were provided to NCF through the NCF’s Playing Safe initiative. Operators undergo rigorous testing and interviews by the ACE panel of safer gambling experts to ensure that their responsible gambling measures are being performed to the highest standards. All successful Casinos can display the Playing Safe accreditation seal. This has helped the UK Casino sector maintain the safest gambling environment in the world.

Focal Research – International Research Collaboration 

For the past 5 years under the leadership and vision of National Casino Forum’s CEO Tracy Damestani a innovative and international collaboration with Focal Research has been piloted using technology to improve customer safety. Focal Research Consultants is a Canadian data analytics and research firm who specialise in behavioural analysis and have had 20 years experience working with Gambling Industries around the world. The NCF ALeRTtm System is an algorithm that will help identify those at risk of gambling related harms or those who show high risk behaviour, enabling trained members of staff greater assurance that accurate and more meaningful interactions with customers are conducted.

DICE

The NCF’s CEO developed and leads the Diversity and Inclusion for Career Enhancement (DICE) alongside members for the Casino industry. NCF conducted a DICE survey of the Casino industry’s employees to identify how inclusive the industry is, finding that 57.5% of all employees were Male and 49.4% being White British.  Several workshops on diversity and inclusion have been held with all levels of staff in the UK, this proactive approach has been acknowledged and welcomed by the Gambling Commission.  This initiative has been adopted by  the European Casino Association as DICE Europe.

NCF Services

SENSE

Since 3rd August 2015 to 31st December 2019 the National Casino Forum developed, monitored and administrated the Sense National Self-Exclusion Scheme.

As of the 1st January 2020 Sense will be operated by the Betting and Gaming Council and can be contacted at sense@bettingandgamingcouncil.com or by phone on 0203 409 2047

Test Purchasing

The NCF was the first trade association in gambling to continually test its members’ venues for age verification processes to ensure that the Casino Sector robust checks in place to prevent under-age access to their venues.  The pass rate remains consistently above 94% and is by far the highest in any sector in the Gambling industry.

UK Casino Table Games

The NCF assists the Gambling Commission by providing  a streamlined web-based register to record new or amended casino table games. Operators provide the information so that the public  understand the individual games being played, the chances of winning and any rules for the game to ensure transparency and player information is easily available.

Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration (IPCA)

The NCF set up the first Independent Panel for Casino Arbitration in 2007 to provide a recourse for customer complaints. Following legislative changes the Gambling Commission approved the NCF-IPCA as an Entity to provide a National Alternative Dispute Resolution service. This services ensured that a complaint concerning a gambling transaction could be independently adjudicated at no financial cost to the customer. Since 2015 the IPCA has received 184 individual cases and has taken 24 to a full investigation.

As of the 1st December 2019 the IPCA is no longer in operation, for any ADR enquiries please contact the Operating Casino to confirm which company is providing their ADR service.

NCF Events

UK Dealer Championships

Participants of the UK Dealer Championship 2019

Participants of the UK Dealer Championship 2019

The UK Dealer Championships has been a highlight of the Casino Sector’s calendar every year. Created by the NCF, organised and run by the NCF and the UKDC committee, the Dealer Championships has been a fantastic competition to find the UK’s best Croupier. This event allows Dealers put forward from any Casino in the UK to show their flare, talent, charisma and professionalism in front of a panel of skilled judges, with  a cash prize and a chance to represent the UK at the European Dealer Championships.

European Dealer Championships

The European Dealer Championship was first launched in 2007 with the collaboration of the UK casino trade association, the National Casino Forum.  Tracy Damestani (Vice-Chair of the European Casino Association) has directed the tournament which has grown year on year and is an opportunity to showcase our industry.

NCF Regulatory Achievements

Anti Money Laundering Standards

At the recommendation of the Gambling Commission, the NCF and its members developed the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Finance Best Practice Guidelines (working document) for casino operators. The NCF managed the implementation of this project which was welcomed by the Regulator.

Increase in Stake and Prize for B1 Machines and an increase to the progressive linked Jackpot prize

In January 2014 the Government decided to increase the stake and prize for Category B1 to £5 and £10,000 respectively. This came after several months of consultation with the National Casino Forum and the Gambling industry to ensure that an increase in stake and prize would not increase gambling related harms. The also occurred with the progressive linked Jackpot where the prize limit was increased but no changes were made to the stake.

Invited to No. 10 Downing Street 

NCF CEO Tracy Damestani at No. 10 to discuss regulatory changes

Positive dialogue with Ministers and regulators has been ongoing. The National Casino Forum’s CEO, Tracy Damestani, was invited to No. 10 Downing Street to speak with the Government about innovations and regulatory changes for land based casinos, these necessary changes were acknowledged and improvements continue to be sought. The NCF has successfully engaged with other government departments,  HMRC and HMT, to ensure that its members have not been subjected to further increases in GGY taxation.

European Casino Association

NCF CEO Tracy Damestani meeting with the Crown Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II (third from left) and Members of the ECA

NCF CEO Tracy Damestani meeting with the Crown Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II (third from left) and Members of the ECA

The NCF’s CEO Tracy Damestani has been the Vice-Chair of the ECA and has helped build a professional cohesion between the Casino Sector in the UK and in Europe, whilst also helping to provide a voice in the European Parliament. This work has been crucial in ensuring that the UK Casino Sector maintains its world position as one of the best regulated gambling sector in Europe and the World.  A highlight was Tracy’s meeting with His Royal Highness – Prince Albert of Monaco to discuss the casino industry, tourism and eco-sustainability.