Making the business case for responsible gambling

Making the business case for responsible gambling

Monday, September 12, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
A WrB debate on the wider advantages of a good social responsibility strategy

The cold hearted business case behind social responsibility is big enough not to be ignored, according to a panel of experts at last week’s World Regulatory Briefing at London’s OXO Tower.

Discussing ‘responsible gaming & the bottom line’, industry representatives highlighted the advantages that a good social responsibility programme and image has on recruitment, player acquisition and dealing with regulators.

John Hagan, Deputy Chairman of GamCare, moderated the panel which featured Roger Parkes, Head of Global Compliance at Betway, Jan Jones Blackhurst, the Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate Responsibility at Caesars Entertainment and Simon Planzer, Partner at Planzer Law.

The notion that responsible gaming  offers shared value for all stakeholders was brought up by Hagan. Blackhurst delivered her view that from an employees and customer point of view, ensuring a company is responsible is more important than ever. She explained: “Millennials, both customer and employee, make decisions based on how they view you as a company.”

Essentially Blackhurst was noting that unethical and uncaring companies will not attract the cream of the crop of new graduates in the workforce and will lose out on customers too.

In regards to the investments needed in making adjustments to becoming a more responsible company, Hagan questioned whether short term losses were inevitable. Blackhurst answered with a firm no and noted that if you don’t do this, you’ll be restricted. She said how it’s no longer “nice to have, it’s have to have” and that it used to be much trickier to get a budget for introducing and improving such measures than it is now.

Betway’s Parkes added: “The regulators’ push has led to more investment which in turn has led to companies being better able to monitor and understand customers.”

Hagan added that it was of some surprise that you rarely see gambling companies advertise compliance initiatives such as limits and self exclusion tools, and instead focus on the promotion of responsible gambling. In short, getting the message out there of the how rather than the underlying message could may well be a smart move.

In terms of what more companies in this sector can do to push responsible gaming Parkes highlighted the stigma and taboo of a gambling addiction, and how this needs to change from a social perspective. That it’s still viewed as shameful which itself prevents victims from seeking the help they require. He said: “It’s one of the hardest addictions to discuss socially.”

He added: “Sites can be made more social and intuitive in promoting responsible gambling.” This was agreed upon by the panel, along with a general feeling that there is far more that operators could do to protect problem gamblers and potentially vulnerable customers in terms of site design, layout and tools available.

Hagan concluded by asking the speakers whether less responsible operators are dragging the industry down? Blackhurst responded that ‘all and every negative story hurts the industry and its opportunity to expand’, adding that the industry must work closer together and share best practices in terms of preventing problem gambling and ensuring all customers are as protected as possible.

Totally Gaming Says: While there is a certain moral imperative for the gambling industry to service problem gambling initiatives, the business case for also doing so cannot be ignored. Given that the Gambling Commission in the UK is demanding the industry up its social responsibility funding, perhaps it’s time for some executives to look closer at the benefits.

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