Responsible Gambling Week 2022
By Dan Iliovici,
Already becoming a tradition, in recent years the so-called Responsible Gambling Week has been held in several countries.
Without looking*1 the reasons why we still don’t have such a project within the responsible gambling programs in Romania, I think it’s time to take a first step, by starting this autumn the homonymous project in our country as well.
For the success of the action, I think the participation of the main stakeholders would be necessary (stakeholders) – first of all the National Gambling Office (ONJN), but also operators, industry associations, specialists in the field of treating problem gamblers, responsible in the field of youth education.
Moreover, through the direct involvement of ONJN, perhaps even as the organizer of the event (that there would be money for that), the suspicion of industry partisanship can be removed, as would be the case if everything were carried out under the coordination of some operators or associations.
Through the program of the event, it will be possible to promote the most important activities dedicated to responsible gambling carried out in our country, making available to all those interested a platform for the presentation and debate of ideas and projects that contribute to the prevention and reduction of the negative effects of gambling.
Moreover, the presence of the media will not only increase the visibility of the action itself, but also of the responsible gambling projects already underway at the level of various associations, operators, NGOs, etc., so that the message reaches as many of the those interested, to those who need protection or help.
Some important topics that will be the subject of the seminars and working groups that will be held during this period are:
• information on the risks associated with gambling;
• tools available to help players manage their behavior to play responsibly;
• practical ways to protect young people and other vulnerable categories;
• responsible advertising in the field of gambling;
• responsible gambling programs currently available to those interested;
• the presentation of new projects dedicated to the education, prevention and counseling of players, in order to obtain funds for their implementation (fundraising).
It is known that almost all events of the gambling industry (conferences, round tables, seminars) already traditionally include a section dedicated to responsible gambling. But these panels are more like a check mark to prove a responsible behavior of the gambling industry. What is missing, however, is the effervescence of debates, the emergence of new ideas, the presentation of data based on market research, on clear evidence of the results obtained from various responsible gambling projects.
To get an idea of the discrepancy between the approach to commercial communication for the business itself (gambling offer, bonuses, etc.) and the promotion of responsible gambling programs, it is enough to note the inventiveness and attractiveness of gambling advertisements , compared to the flatness and lack of visibility of the latter.
It is a shame not to make known to the general public – even the authorities, politicians, the media – the programs that the industry has been running for years. We have operators and associations that support this kind of projects with no small financial contributions, and it is a shame to keep them “secret”.
On the other hand, there is also a danger of over-exposure to responsible gambling messages. The public might consider that the phenomenon of gambling addiction is a large one and that is why so much is being made of the subject. In this context, I emphasize the need to have information based on clear, objective evidence, regarding the percentage of players in the total population, the percentage of those with gambling problems, of young people who practice such games.
In this context I would mention the result of a study*2 published on ScienceDirect.com.
Titled “Experiences of responsible gambling tools among non-problem gamblers: A survey of active customers of an online gambling platform”, the study presents the impact of tools specific to responsible gambling programs on non-problem gamblers. Thus, despite the fears of some operators, online players who do not have gambling problems, so-called ”recreational gamblers”, they are not disturbed by the typical tools of responsible gambling and are not distracted from the game by the presence of these tools.
The study, carried out on a sample of over 10,000 online players, highlighted the positive attitude towards responsible gambling of players who practice online gambling as a form of entertainment, as fun. They perceive the attitude of gambling operators who promote responsible gambling as caring for consumers, which is beneficial for a long-term business vision.
In order to ensure increased visibility of the Responsible Gambling Week project, media companies will be invited to join it, as partners, to present the events held throughout the program. Thus, it will be possible to lay the foundations for an effective collaboration with the mass media, which can only benefit the industry in the long term.
Finally, on the occasion of Responsible Gambling Week, it will be possible to launch a request for projects regarding responsible gambling, and at the end of the action, the most innovative ideas will be awarded and implemented.
*1. This article is a rehash of a similar proposal from 2019, which fell flat at the time.