dan iliovici

A few questions and more possible answers

We are referring, of course, to responsible gaming.

By Dan Iliovici, Vicepresident, ROMBET

We know what is being done nationally and internationally to help those in need, we know what programs are dedicated to educating young people and those at risk, on the possible negative effects of excessive gambling.
Regarding advertising, we have some general legal provisions, provisions that operators interpret and apply, most of the time, in good faith. In this context, we must emphasize that operators are also those who have programs and initiatives dedicated to responsible gaming, without waiting for coercive measures by the authorities.

With all these programs, regulations and initiatives, the first question arises:
How effective is all this?, then
How do we measure efficiency?
Or as H.I. Harrington:
“If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it.
If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it.
If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it!”

Or we really want to improve these programs, we want to make them useful, as effective as possible.

If for classic processes it is relatively easy to answer these first questions, in the case of gambling things show a completely different situation. And this is not because someone is trying to hide certain things or facts, but because we are dealing with a very special field. And in the case of problem players, things get even more complicated.

How much yogurt does an adult consume per year?

To give a concrete example, let’s take a statistic on the consumption of yogurt or coffee (or even beer!) Per capita per year / month / day.
I don’t think there are any particular problems for a market research company to get honest answers to questions about these consumer products. The interviewees have no reason to distort reality, if perhaps involuntarily, if they do not remember exactly how many yogurts they have consumed in the last month. At the same time, it is not a problem to have access to a representative sample of interviewed subjects. Go in front of a supermarket with a questionnaire and, with a little training and luck, you will soon get the answers you want.

How many games do we “consume” per year?

Now let’s move on to our gambling case.
If society does not blame anyone for the habit of consuming yogurt, players – especially those with more serious gambling problems – know very well what is the attitude of family, friends, society in general, towards gambling and towards those what they practice. No matter how much someone assures them that the market study is anonymous, that the data is processed only for scientific purposes, without being sent to ANAF (!), There will still be a reluctance to give real information. Not to mention how “easy” it is to approach those who go out (or enter) a game location – that’s about yogurt.
Moreover, those with problems will try to distort reality, in order to fit into the “normal” accepted by society.
They will claim that they are also perfectly normal, that they only play from time to time, like any other person, that they do not spend more than they can afford. Maybe only those who openly admit, honestly, that they have problems, will provide reliable information. There are those who seek specialized help through responsible gaming programs, by accessing the offices of psychologists.
To the most common question, often encountered in market research on the incidence of gambling participation: How many times have you played gambling in the last year ?, The answer is so “elastic” that I wondered if not the question is asked… cool.
Forgive me the non-academic term, slightly pejorative, but, in the happiest case, this question denotes a lack of knowledge of the field of gambling and those who practice it.
I know that there are so-called indirect questions, that there are focus groups, methods and means to obtain the most accurate information about the field studied, but still remains the barrier of sensitivity of the subject of gambling. Plus, in addictive cases, players are experts at hiding their problems.

dan iliovici rombet

What to do?

What can be done to “solve” this problem?
First, those conducting the study should become familiar with the field of gambling.
I think that the (informal) dialogue with the game operators, with the staff directly involved in the relationship with the players, with the players themselves, with psychologists, with the authorities is necessary. Those who will conduct the study should “be friends” with all of them.
And I think they should know the special legislation of the field, even if only to have a common language with those they study.
I would overbid, saying they should play themselves. Who hasn’t eaten at least one yogurt can’t describe its taste…

Another question!

Let’s move on to another question, the so-called objectives of market research.
What do we want to know from the study? What do we measure?
Here are the classic questions that the media asks every time the topic of gambling appears on the screen:
How many Romanians gamble?
How many players have gambling problems?
How many are addicted?
How much do Romanians spend… or lose on gambling?

Then there would be topics of more interest to specialists, to the authorities, but also to the operators themselves:
How much is the GGR, Gross Gaming Revenue, per game type?

We will continue this topic in the next issue of the magazine.