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Northern Ireland – IAGA Belfast panel to look at revitalising responsible gambling

By - 1 June 2023

Developing and implementing effective responsible gaming measures that promote a safe gambling experience is critical to the sustainability of the global gaming industry. At IAGA Belfast a panel of industry experts will consider safer gambling approaches from around the world, highlighting best practices and key innovations. Attending and speaking at the event, Tiina Siltanen, Vice Chair of the ECA and General Manager, Casino Helsinki & Tampere, talks to G3 about three vitals aspects of responsible gambling for the future.

The subject of responsible gaming has long been an integral part of the gambling industry. Numerous academic studies have been conducted, countless articles have been written, and regulators continually refine the concept with each new regulation. With various interpretations of responsible gaming, it is time to re-examine the term by revisiting its core principles.

At its essence, responsible gaming comprises principles and practices designed to minimise the negative impacts of gambling on individuals and society while promoting safe and enjoyable gambling experiences.

The responsible licensed European Gaming industry, including members of the European Casino Association (licensed land-based casinos in Europe), is committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable gambling experience for all customers. These industry stakeholders acknowledge that gambling can pose problems for some individuals. Research indicates that three to five individuals who participate in gaming are potentially at risk of developing a gambling problem, equating to approximately 0.7 to one per cent of a country’s total adult population.

Governments recognise the importance of responsible gaming as a means of balancing revenue generation from the gaming industry, while safeguarding the well-being of their citizens. Consequently, they emphasise responsible gambling practices and combat illegal gambling activities.

For operators, responsible gambling is vital for upholding a positive reputation. Implementing responsible gambling measures demonstrates an operator’s commitment to ethical practices, customer well-being, regulatory compliance, and corporate social responsibility. This approach fosters trust among governments, regulators, and customers while also helping maintain a loyal customer base, a positive brand image, and an overall favourable perception of the industry. Gaming is like any other industry; the company‚Äôs brand image and values matter when consumers choose which operator to use. 

The implementation and promotion of responsible gaming, along with compliance with gambling regulations, foster trust between regulatory and operational stakeholders in the gaming business, facilitating open communication channels. This trust is essential for ensuring the gaming industry’s voice is heard when new regulatory measures are considered and for securing a seat at the table when decisions with significant economic impact are made. 

It is in both operators and regulators mutual interest to assure gambling is channelised to licenced operators with responsible gaming policies. Therefore, unnecessary opposition between parties should be avoided.

Moving forward, there are three vital aspects to consider for the future of responsible gaming:

Implementing Standards

There is a compelling case for the adoption of universal responsible gaming standards – while leaving room for national adaptions in line with cultural and historic differences – developed collaboratively by regulators and operators, which every operator should implement. 

Such standards would establish a consistent framework and set of guidelines for all operators, ensuring that players have access to the same level of protection and responsible gaming measures throughout the industry.

Furthermore, adopting universal standards could promote trust and transparency in the gaming sector and encourage collaboration between operators, regulators, and other stakeholders to address gambling-related harm and foster responsible gaming practices.

Auditing Standards 

Standards alone are insufficient; their correct implementation must be audited by independent auditors regularly, as often as every three to five years. Gaming researchers and academics can then focus on the various aspects of these standards, contributing to their ongoing development in an ever-evolving gaming landscape.

Data-Driven Responsible Gaming

In the contemporary landscape of responsible gaming, a data-driven methodology is employed to analyse player behaviour and proactively address potential problem gambling patterns. This systematic approach entails meticulously monitoring player activity, enabling operators to discern early warning signs and implement targeted, responsible gaming actions. 

By adopting a data-centric perspective, operators can establish a secure and responsible gaming environment that prioritises player well-being. Tools utilised in data-driven and identified responsible gaming practices include setting limits on wagers and visits, self-exclusion, and offering personalised feedback and recommendations tailored to individual gaming habits. 

Through the strategic application of data analytics, operators can design and implement more efficient, responsible gaming initiatives. This ultimately contributes to fostering a sustainable and conscientious gaming industry that prioritises ethical practices and customer welfare.

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