Bogdan Coman

Most of the gambling operators have developed responsible gambling programs or have adhered to multi-organizational projects, as it is the case with the Romanian model.
Many of these are preventive programs; they are attempts in order to reduce the chance that people might lose control over the manner they enjoy the game. But, in spite of the best protection measures, some people will develop gambling issues – some of them even serious ones. Thus, what should companies do for those people?
What do they … owe to these clients?

Responsible gambling is a universal challenge
All the gambling operators face the question “What should I do if I believe that one client may have a problem?” Companies use various labels for this kind of issues.
Some speak about the excessive gambling, other refer to them as “risky” players. Whatever the terminology, all the companies face the same challenge.
These players get in the attention of the operators by a variety of channels. The least frequent one is by real disclosure. The most frequently, within the locations, the staff sees certain behaviors which have been identified as being “with potential of risk”, such as the situations when the players seem to visibly wish to win, or when they appear sleepy or affected. In other cases, the family members address to the operators, searching for help for their relatives.
There is the tendency of supposing that, in online, it is less probable to identify a player with potential issues. It is not the case.
The online gambling providers often have better information for them, due to the identity check technology, which is integrated within the online gambling.

Acknowledgement is only the beginning
In time, gambling operators have managed to recognize this kind of problems of the clients. And, when it comes to well-defined incidents, significant progress has been recorded in the answers obtained. Mostly, the gambling operators feel less comfortable interacting with players who prove potential issues related to gambling, but who do not disclose them and who don’t cause any incidents.

The reaction is difficult for several reasons
It is not surprising the fact that this gabling area is troublesome. First of all, it is natural human tendency to avoid the problems caused by disorder. Also, the risks associated with the approach of such a client who seems to have a problem with gambling are high. What if we are wrong and we lose a good client? How about the individual’s privacy? What if we “humiliate” him? What if the person reacts aggressively or abusively?
There is no answer for easily solving these situations, but there are several ways of managing them more efficiently.

Do not ignore the problem
One of the best practices is to take measures if you believe there may be a problem. Don’t ignore the warning signals. If someone has a significant issue, it is quite probable that the issue may continue and get worse. Also, it is likely that the respective individual may blur the other players’ joy.

Build a team with well-trained staff

In time, most of the gambling companies have elaborated training policies and programs in order to allow the staff, usually older staff, to act if they notice a client who may have a problem with gambling. For large gambling operators it is probably worth it to invest in an increased expertise level for a small number of staff members who are particularly qualified in managing such problems.

Do not suppose you have understood the problem
Approaching someone does not stand for a diagnostic or for counseling. It is only about a better service for clients! It is best to keep an open approach if you notice that one person presents any signs of gambling issues.
A person with obvious signs of stress may have a gambling issue, but he/she may just as well be preoccupied for totally different reasons.
Also, the psychologists recommend using the term “advice” rather than “help” when counseling people about the resources they may access. “Help” means that you urgently need something for a problem, while “advice” has a more supportive and warm tonality.

And, one last piece of advice: support and get involved in the Responsible gambling programs.

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