EiG: Collaborate to become sustainable

EiG: Collaborate to become sustainable

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 Totally Gaming
Industry needs to come together to tap into ‘limitless’ opportunities

Collaboration is key if the gambling industry is to be sustainable and safeguard its reputation in the long-term, attendees at EiG 2015 were told by a panel of experts today (Tuesday).

In an open floor debate entitled ‘How can improved reputation affect your bottom line?’ executives agreed that rivals need to work together more effectively to secure a more prosperous future for the industry as a whole.

The debate at Arena Berlin was moderated by Reputation Institute Director Ed Coke, who kicked off the discussion by revealing the findings of an official EiG reputation survey.

The survey illustrated the challenges for the sector, with more than half of those polled admitting that they are either still understanding what reputation management means or are still trying to work out how to implement it.

“The key is to have reputation management as an input into strategy, rather than reputation being an outcome in its own right,” Coke said. “It has to be an integrated approach to build reputation management over time.”

Graham Weir, the Head of Responsible Gambling at UK bookmaker Ladbrokes, warned: “I am not seeing a lot of cross-sector co-operation at the moment and there is a real need for that.”

Ron Finlay, the Chief Executive of the Senet Group, an independent body set up in the UK to promote responsible gambling standards and ensure that the marketing of gambling is socially responsible, acknowledged that there needs to be a unified approach from industry stakeholders.

“There is a risk that smaller players may feel that they can get away with a free ride and doing nothing if the big players are leading the way,” he said.

“However, although there might be the potential for short-term advantages in that approach, investors look for regulatory certainty. There is growing collaboration, but more remains to be done.”

Mark Robson, the Head of e-Gaming at the Isle of Man Government, warned that although the online revolution now means that gambling is no longer a “dirty secret”, there is increased scrutiny.

“Reputation is sometimes based on perception rather than fact, but there are some websites that offer terms that are quite predatory,” he said.

“It is not just about displaying something on your website. It’s about proactively monitoring people’s activity.

“You have to be aware and alert of the risk and make sure that the right checks and balances are in place and properly policed.”

Finlay revealed that members of the Senet Group are going to do “a lot more in the coming year” to identify people who may be at risk from problem gambling.

Laura da Silva, the Director of Silver Fish, an agency that helps businesses to grow in a responsible way, added that it is in the industry’s own interest to be proactive in reputation management.

She also had a stark warning for companies that prioritise short-term gain over long-term sustainability.

“It’s about my generation and the next generation. If people are not proud of you, they will not want to work for you, and if they do not trust you, they will not want to be your customer,” she said.

“Behaviour analytics is finally catching on in responsible gambling, and it makes business sense.

“People want authentic, real companies that are really guided by values. If you don’t adopt this approach, you won’t exist in a few years’ time. Growing your business also means growing responsibly.”

Weir echoed that “short-term pain can lead to long-term gain” while Finlay underlined the stakes of effective reputation management.

“There is an enormous opportunity over the next 10 years for this industry to grow its market considerably, particularly with the new generation coming through being digital natives,” Finlay added.

“However, that relies on the industry behaving in a responsible way. If the industry can show it looks after vulnerable people, then the prospects are limitless.”

For all of the latest updates from EiG 2015, click here to check out our live blog.

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