Responsible Gaming – from slogan to action
by Dan Iliovici, Vicepresident, ROMBET
For years, there has been a discussion about Responsible Gaming, what measures operators must take to educate customers of gambling locations (online and land-based), to protect those who are part of vulnerable groups from gambling problems, to protect minors, but also to educate them about the potential problems that may arise from excessive gambling.
At the same time, in most of the game locations or on the operators’ pages, there are the classic urges addressed to the players, something like… “Play responsibly”.
Moreover, the notion of responsible gambling – the practice of gambling in a responsible way – is also included in the regulations specific to our field, trying to give even more force to the need to “implement” the measures related to this concept.
Of course, all this is necessary, but not enough, to have a significant impact on the number of cases of players with gambling problems, in order to reduce the negative impact of excessive gaming. (Here we should perhaps mention that anything done in excess, becomes in most cases harmful).
If a person sees an attractive advertisement for a product or service and, beyond the enticing images, sees the dull call to responsibility, I do not think that this call will be retained, which has become a good slogan to apply to any field. That phrase will go unnoticed, like a background noise. Sometimes we even smile to ourselves, indulgently, when we see this exhortation to responsibility, saying to ourselves: they were obliged to mention this slogan, but who takes it into account ?!
So beyond all this, in order to be truly effective, it is necessary that all actions and programs related to the “responsible game” be an integral part of the business strategy of each operator, including the authorities responsible for gambling. In vain do we have a department or a person responsible for responsible gaming within a large company, if those persons / persons are regarded as the fifth wheel in the wagon, or if we “wash our hands”, and we send them from time to time to conferences that they have as their theme (and) responsible gaming.
In terms of authority, there is a danger of losing sight of the forest because of the trees, is omitting the fact that one of the major objectives of the Office’s work should be… the protection of players, minors, other vulnerable groups and education. – as the most effective prevention method. These programs should not be carried out directly by the Office, but the current regulations allow it to play an active role in selecting the most effective projects, participating in their funding and subsequently evaluating the results obtained.
Finally, there is the issue of liability. It is very easy to blame the gambling industry, relaxed regulation or the players themselves for the problems caused by gambling. But rather than being caught in a game of exchange of responsibilities, it is much more productive to note that everyone can play an important role in limiting the negative effects of gambling. And here we refer to players, operators, authorities, psychologists, even the media. Thus, by involving all these factors in the field of “responsible play”, the results will be significantly better than by “displaying in a visible place” sterile exhortations to responsibility.
Other articles about responsible gaming are HERE.