Interview GiocoNews – Dan Iliovici

Gioconews is a very complete gaming network with a monthly review of 100 pages. Its branch office is in Italy but it has an international delivery because the magazine is a bilingual one, in Italian and in English version. It also has an online daily paper. It is the point of reference for gambling industry, with also two other specific online daily news dedicated to the Poker and Casino worlds. Gioconews gives big attention to the gaming world and to the worlds connected with it (politics, economy, business, technology, design, fashion,…). For this reason Gioconews is present at the most important gaming centers, the Italian casinos and the meeting at the European level and the main play appointments. Gioconews, besides the clients of the field, always paid attention first of all for the companies that connect their brands to the gaming, but also for who is trying to reach a very selected public for the social-economic-cultural level that declares an explicit interest for the gaming and entertaining world.

From your privileged point of view, what do you feel like saying about the gaming industry’s level of preparation and understanding of responsible gaming?
As it looks to me, after more than 12 years being involved in the gambling industry and Responsible Gambling (RG), we have a process, an ongoing evolution towards a more responsible gambling industry.
Each year brings new projects, new instruments, and last but not least, tighter regulations on RG.
Therefore, self-regulation and regulation are both aimed at a better protection of vulnerable groups, especially the youngsters, at education, prevention, and treatment.
Based on this, it is the operators’ responsibility how they implement all these RG programs. It is their responsibility on how they implement and respect the regulations, without trying to circumvent some provisions.

What is the level of preparation and attention to the issue on the part of the regulators?
Being under pressure from politicians, blamed by punters, the public and mass-media, facing the stigma that is surrounding our industry for decades, playing the mouse and cat game with (some) operators, regulators are in an exceedingly difficult position. Not to mention the ongoing technological evolution, which makes them to always be (at least) one step behind one of the most innovative sector – the gambling industry.
It is also the case of RG. Regulators must keep pace with new RG projects, to understand the impact, the benefits that these instruments may bring, in order to have a better player protection.
On top of that, everybody is asking for “evidence based” RG measures, which leads us to the requirement to have reliable statistics about the gambling industry, problem, and pathological gambling prevalence.
All these require a permanent training of the regulators’ personnel, collaboration with all stakeholders and… money.
Not an easy job.


In your opinion, what role can (or should) regulators play in creating a sustainable environment from the point of view of responsible gaming?
As mentioned at the previous question, regulators have a lot of things to do. But it is also the place to mention that we all need a good, balanced regulatory framework. Any restriction, especially on advertising, but not only, should not be made based on emotional impulse, it should be “evidence based”. I can tell from my experience as head of Romanian Gambling Office – the gambling industry watchdog – that without collaboration, without discussing with all the parties involved, one cannot have good results.
And one more thing: regulators should not use only “the stick” in relation with operators. There are also incentives that should be used by authorities.
Sometimes “the carrot” may work better than “the stick”.

Do you believe that there are more accurate/in-depth or Responsible Gaming oriented legislations that can be considered “best practices” at a global level?
“Best practices” should mean, in my opinion, “evidence based practices”. There are many examples of emotional, common sense measures, like the proposal to keep gambling halls away from schools.
Some may consider a “safe” distance is 100m, others may say 200m. But all these are arbitrary numbers. They are not based on any kind of research.
Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of such “best practices” example of good regulation on RG, but I do have examples of BAD regulation. And Italy is such an example, with the total ban on gambling advertising. But I believe you are more aware of this than me.

What is missing most, in your opinion, in the world of gaming to start a truly virtuous path in this sense?
Morality is missing the most.
A business being driven only by the “make more money” moto, may lack the answer to the question on “how” do you make that money. It is about sustainability, the long-term vision.
I was inspired on this idea by Laura Da Silva – SG:certified, as she concisely presented this at a recent conference on gambling in London.
But this “long-term” business concept is facing another problem:
Operators are unsafe on what the next year, the next month, or even what the next day may bring on regulation. I mean some new regulatory restrictions, like banning any form of advertising and so on. In this case it could be somehow understandable their lack of a long-term vision.
But we all live in an uncertain world for decades, so one may say this is not an excuse.

Thank you!

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