Industry has to prove its social responsibility capabilities

Industry has to prove its social responsibility capabilities

Friday, September 2, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Bacta has improved its self-exclusion system by teaming up with IHL

The chief executive of coin-op trade association bacta believes that the industry really has to be seen to be taking problem gambling seriously if it is to get recognition for its efforts from politicians.

This week the UK coin-op industry has strengthened its social responsibility capabilities when bacta and IHL, developer of paper-less self-exclusion solution SmartEXCLUSION, announced the launch of an initiative to integrate SmartEXCLUSION with the bacta self-exclusion service.

Once finalised the integration will allow users of either system to notify other Adult Gaming Centre operators in their locality of self-exclusions that have taken place in their premises. The project is planned to be complete by 1st November 2016.

When asked if politicians and others in government recognise how important the coin-op sector takes social responsibility, Bacta chief executive John White told TotallyGaming.com: “I would like to think that they do, but in today’s world we do really have to prove it. That is why real social responsibility (SR) goes beyond merely compliance with the License Conditions and Code of Practice (LCCP) and requires us to take ownership of the issues that will, hopefully, make our SR performance better.

“We in bacta unequivocally accept that challenge and through our SR Committee are looking at how we can do things better.  I also think the new RGSB Strategy is a good document that helps provide some focus.  The hardest task is getting good evidence in SR field, by which evidence that any intervention does make a genuine impact on problem gamblers and/or at risk gamblers.”

As from April this year all AGC operators have had to let other operators know details of people who have self-excluded as a requirement of the Gambling Commission’s latest version of the License Conditions and Code of Practice (LCCP). With two systems in the market, operators have had to advise self-excluders in some cases to register with two different schemes in two different locations.

“It will make life simpler for the self-excluder,” White added. “This integration of the two systems will allow a self-excluder to self-exclude from all AGC venues in a particular locality with just one registration. I am therefore delighted that IHL and the bacta scheme have come together. This will undoubtedly benefit those that have found themselves in difficulty through gambling and need some extra help from the industry.”

White revealed that self-exclusion has been ‘working well in any case’ even before the agreement. Up until April it was on a site by site basis before the multi-operator scheme was introduced. “In essence all a self-excluder has to do is to go into an AGC (or bookmaker or casino etc which have their own schemes) give a few details, provide a photograph and then the system notifies others in the locality of the self-excluder.”

Although locality was not defined in the LCCP – bacta uses a 1 kilometre radius from the reference AGC and if someone needs to exclude from another location (ie work and home) then they simply contact bacta self exclusion services who manages the change.

Totally Gaming Says: A joined up solution for self exclusion makes total sense and underlines White’s assumption that the industry needs to go beyond the LCCP on social responsibility rather than just meeting its requirements. Regional self-exclusion won’t be perfect yet as it’s only just been introduced, but it is a step in the right direction.

Want to know more about self-exclusion and social responsibility? Then you should attend next week's World Regulatory Briefing – Responsible Gambling Innovation at OXO2. Find out more here

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