Gaming companies can benefit both customers and themselves by helping to minimise problem gambling, according to Keith Whyte, the Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), who will be appearing in a GiGse in San Francisco later this month.
The NCPG, which was set up in 1972, is a non-governmental organisation whose purpose is “to serve as the national advocate for programmes and services to assist problem gamblers and their families” and describes itself as “neutral on legalised gambling.”
Whyte will outline the NCPG’s stance during an Open Space session on the future of gambling regulation in the US at GiGse on April 20.
With the gambling industry growing and the potential for exponential growth through the possible future legalisation of internet gaming across a number of US states, including California, the NCPG is using GiGse as a chance to highlight the dangers of problem gambling to companies as well as customers.
“We want the industry to recognise that problem gambling is an important issue and to have the conversation about the obligation to provide gaming in a responsible manner,” Mr. Whyte said.
“By working together we can develop innovative programmes to minimise harm that are better for industry, players and advocates than government regulation.
“Don’t hide behind legalistic facades – accept that some players, especially those who spend large amounts of time and money on your games, may have gambling problems. Anything you can do to help minimise these problems is good for your customers and good for your company.”
The NCPG is keen on emphasising two of its initiatives in helping companies to minimise the threat of problem gambling.
The NCPG is about to launch a responsible gaming compliance assessment program (iCAP) for US regulated internet gambling vendors and operators and is also planning to release an updated version of its US Internet Responsible Gambling Standards (GRADE), for social casino consumer protection, in 2015.
The organisation also offers direct services to the public and has recently added text and chat capability to its national problem gambling helpline network.
“We believe the decision to gamble is an individual choice that should be made on an informed basis, and that those who choose to gamble should be provided specific information on the financial and health risks of gambling, guidelines for responsible gambling, signs of addiction and resources for help,” Whyte added.
“We also believe problem gambling is a national public health issue that negatively affects individuals, families, businesses and communities throughout the country. Programmes to reduce the harm from gambling addiction have a positive impact on individuals, families, communities and society.
“NCPG is the most objective, independent and respected organisation on problem gambling issues. As the advocate for programmes to protect problem gamblers we prefer to work in partnership with the industry but have no hesitation in being critical when it is necessary.”