Does harmonisation have a place in the gambling industry?

Does harmonisation have a place in the gambling industry?

Thursday, September 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
WrB heard that a focus on unification may mean a loss of focus

Senior gambling industry figures spoke of their fears of an unnecessary focus on cross-border cooperation in a session at WrB 2015.

The discussion, moderated by Clive Hawkswood, director of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), looked at the role responsible gambling can play in the facilitation of harmonisation in Europe. Despite members of the panel highlighting a number of positive aspects with such plans, concerns were raised over how a unified policy could be implemented and the challenges likely to be encountered.

Cristina Thakor-Rankin, a consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd, said it is important for the industry to remember what it has done in terms of responsible gambling and that venturing too much into this area would not uncover much more.

Thakor-Rankin said: “If we carry on the way we are, we end up looking for a silver bullet solution, and I don’t think there is one.

“I don’t think harmonisation is impossible, but we have to be pragmatic, realistic and stay focused on the fact this is a problem that relates to the individual, rather than a specific group.”

Anna Dearlove, director of compliance at NYX, and formerly of Amaya, also spoke out about the issues harmonisation could cause. She said that the various differences between jurisdictions is likely to have an impact on such efforts.

Dearlove said: “There can be wide disparities between jurisdictions when it comes to responsible gambling. I think the regulators would not agree the harmonisation is the best thing as they have their own objectives.

“However, harmonisation is something important for us as finding a way to reduce the amount of money on the same compliance objectives means we can use these funds in other activities. It is a difficulty to find harmonisation in some areas, but it is definitely worth trying.”

Dirk Hansen, chief executive of GamCare, picked up on the argument, stating that the focus should be on helping problem gamblers gain access to the help that they need, whilst also acknowledging operators should pay attention to responsible gambling across the board.

Hansen added: “I think it is important that there is not a gap between responsible gambling and regulation, and the real problems people need help with and how they can access the support they need. We need to address responsible gambling in all areas of the continuum.”



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