Good practice in the field of responsible gaming with the Romanian gambling market now in an increasingly dynamic one and has known in the last years a sustained development, including in the online environment.
This causes companies operating in this industry to focus more and more on an effective communication strategy but at the same time, a responsible one. And the responsible gambling message or responsible gaming behaviour is perhaps, more than ever, at the heart of the operators ‘communication strategy.
The same happens at international level where, as in Romania, the responsible gaming message is doubled by concrete actions and projects, aimed at promoting a responsible behaviour towards gambling.
So, what is the situation on the more developed markets in the field of responsible gaming? For example, in Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland or Spain, the state – alone or in partnership with other institutions – is the one, who finances or financially supports organizations or structures that provide services in the direction of promoting the responsible gaming concept. Also, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Malta and again Italy, non-governmental organisations offering such services are financially supported by gambling operators. Finally, in South Africa or the Czech Republic, there is a mix of sources of funding between the state and the gaming industry.
The state, through the National Institute of Health (INS), operates at national level a green telephone line, through which it offers to those, who have problems with gambling, information related to the health services devoted to the treatment of gambling – related disorders, services that manage the social, economic or legal problems associated with compulsive gambling, as well as a list of the green telephone numbers available at national level, which people experiencing such problems can call. The service is also available to gaming operators, in the sense that they are given adequate support to cope with situations, caused by people with potential game problems.
In addition, in Italy there is also an association consisting of over 1,500 professionals (psychologists, lawyers), whose mission is to improve, on a scientific basis, the quality of the intervention in and to strengthen clinical and preventive interventions. The Association is financed by gambling operators, and its standard program is the Responsible Game. Through it, the association provides online support 24/7 via email and chat for people with gambling problems. The service is managed by psychologists, psychotherapists and lawyers, and is also available to families and friends of people who face such problems.
Spain is another example of good practice in the responsible game, by the fact that there is a Responsible Gaming Advisory Board, set up at the end of 2018, by an order of the Spanish Ministry of Finance. The council is chaired by the President of the General Directorate for Regulation in the Field of Gaming – a body under the guardianship of the Ministry of Finance – and consists of representatives of gambling operators, experts in the field, universities and consumer organisations, or other organisations, whose activities also address the theme of gambling.
Interesting to note is the example of South Africa, where there is the South African Foundation For responsible Gaming. This is an organisation established by a public – private partnership between regulators and the gaming industry in response to certain situations, related to compulsive gambling, manifested by certain people in the country. The foundation is voluntarily funded by companies in the gaming industry (0.01% of the gross revenues of each financing company), but also from public funds.
In the UK, good practice and involvement in actions or projects addressing the theme of the responsible game is ensured by two types of organisations: Independent NGOS (known as “Charity” organisations) as GambleAware or Gam-Care on the one hand and The Gaming Industry Group for a Responsible Game (IGRG), an organization backed by the UK gambling industry, on the other hand. If GamCare offers services for both gambling and industry-related players (including consultancy for the implementation of corporate social responsibility strategies in the field of responsible game promotion), for The GambleAware case, things stay different.
Thus, GambleAware is exclusively specialised in providing funding for any organization that develops projects in the direction of the responsible game, funds provided by the gaming industry exclusively. As for IGRG, it consists of five associations representing operators from all sectors of the local gaming industry. In essence, the organization is working towards improving and promoting responsible practices in the industry, and constantly elaborating and renewing the so-called gaming industry Code for Socially Responsible Promotion.
In Romania, the Responsible Game Association (AJR) has good practice and already become a landmark in this respect, through the projects they develop and implement. Thought of as an association financially supported by the Romanian gaming industry, AJR, through the projects it runs, closes the circle: from education and prevention (through high school training programme), to psychological counselling in In the responsible game for one of the 6 existing offices in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iași, Constanta and Craiova. Concluding, we can say that in terms of promoting the responsible game, Romania is, in many respects, a market like those with broader experience in this area.