One of the most discussed topics in the field of Responsible gambling is … responsibility itself.
Whom does it belong to? To the operator or to the player? Is there a “distribution” of the responsibility?
Where does the operator’s responsibility end and where does the player’s begin? These are some questions frequently asked during the events from the gambling industry and which both experts and representatives of the authorities and of the operators strive to answer.
”I believe, first of all, that a distinction needs to be made between legal and moral responsibility”, says Dan Iliovici, vice-president of ROMBET. ”By legal responsibility I understand the compliance with all the norms in force, norms which also reflect over the Responsible Gambling. Producers, distributors and game operators must all make sure that they don’t violate the law, and must not encourage the players towards irresponsible practices, only with the purpose of obtaining some profit or “cheap” publicity. On the other hand, when speaking about moral in business, things are much more nuanced.
What matter here are the barriers, norms or standards which the economic operators impose to themselves, or which they should impose.
And I’d give a single example in this respect: it is legal to allow the access of any person over 18 years old in the gambling locations or on-line, but how moral is it to encourage, by all kind of marketing practices, that such player spends as much time as possible gambling?! How moral is it to look only after the profitability of your business, without paying attention to the signals regarding a possible pathologic behavior of certain players?”
In other European countries the attention paid to the balance between the moral and the legal (commercial) responsibility is getting increasingly higher. In Great Britain, for example, known for being cutting-edge in the industry, the Gambling Commission prepares to implement a plan on 3 years, by which it would bind the operators to a greater responsibility, so as to make the gambles safer for the consumers.
The main objectives of the new strategy of the Gambling Commission are to limit as efficiently as possible the access of vulnerable persons to gambles, so as to make sure that gambles are transparent and fair and also to prevent that gambles represent a source of illegal activities. The Commission hopes to implement changes which would lead to an improvement of the business culture within top leading companies. However, its plans depend on the fact whether the companies are ready to raise their moral standards, so as to act consistently in the consumers’ interest and to reduce the number of players with gambling issues.
There is also the objective of making the industry more transparent, by putting at the disposal of the public certain data collected independently, in order to help the consumers take decisions wittingly before participating to gambles.
The Commission will review the rules regarding fraudulent practices and will try to offer the consumers more resources in order to take measures if disloyal practices are met.
Great Britain could become the first state using Artificial Intelligence in the players’ favor, in the meaning of protecting the weak ones: the companies may be bound in the future to use the extended data they hold in order to understand how they can identify players developing a behavior with issues in the field of gambling, how to help them change before becoming a pathological player.
The Responsible Gambling practices must be adjusted permanently
”Beyond these encouraging evolutions, the basic problem remains”, considers Mr. Iliovici. ”I believe the protection of the vulnerable players and of the minors should be a permanent process, not a concerted action only when there are alarm signals in the industry, signaled by the mass media or even by the players. In the next period, ROMBET will try to initiate a dialogue with the gambling operators from Romania in the meaning of establishing some “good practices” – a set of minimum rules we ought to observe, in addition to the legal provisions which, as we well know, can be very evasive when it comes to interpretation, especially in what the moral is concerned. I believe the British example is relevant, especially when we speak about the creation of a business mentality, because the change will never come from the player, unfortunately.
The pro-activity must come from the companies; they must be the ones to set the tone, to make sure that the practices are transparent and fair, and that the games and services put at the consumer’s disposal are made after a thorough information regarding any possible risks associated with excessive gambling ”, concludes Dan Iliovici, vice-president ROMBET.