In the first installment of a new collaboration between IAG and the Responsible Gambling Council – a global non-profit organization based in Canada – RGC CEO Shelley White explains the keys to a successful Responsible Gambling strategy.
The aim of responsible gambling is to proactively promote healthy gambling habits and mitigate risk by ensuring effective safeguards are in place. Over recent years there has been an increased trend in the implementation of responsible gambling strategies by operators and regulators internationally. A holistic RG strategy includes a shared sense of accountability and collaboration between the player, the operator and public policy makers. Players must have access to knowledge and tools to make smart decisions about their play. Operators must create a fair and safe environment to prevent gambling harms and promote good customer service. Public policy makers are accountable for establishing policies and regulations, as well as providing oversight, to minimize the risk of problem gambling and negative community impacts. When all this comes together RG is good for business, the community and players.
Regulations, prevention education, training, accreditation, research and evaluation are the elements of a comprehensive RG strategy. RG is about being progressive and forward thinking. Anticipating potential harms to lessen the negative impacts of gambling are important for a dynamic RG strategy. The operator’s executive management team play a vital leadership role in the ongoing and successful application of these practices.
RG IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH
It’s important to note that while the elements of a strong RG strategy are the same, the tactics that are used in each jurisdiction may vary. How it gets delivered globally needs to reflect individual market needs.
In Asia, it’s imperative that leading RG practices are adapted to be culturally appropriate and address the composition of the jurisdiction, be it an emerging or mature gambling market. To resonate with players, the approach must be aligned with cultural values, religious beliefs, language and history.
Successful RG strategies require good communication between the regulator and operator about risk mitigation and protecting those who are vulnerable.
BUILDING A STRONG RG PROGRAM
Informed decision making is a pillar of a strong RG strategy. The goal is to create a well-informed customer base who can make decisions about their play. Having a range of information readily available for customers has proven to be highly effective.
One of the RG initiatives employed by Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is to ensure RG collateral, such as brochures, are always present on the gaming floor and presented in a non-stigmatizing way.
Front-line staff are often the first point of contact for players. Proper staff training means staff have the knowledge and confidence required to help players keep their gaming safe. Their ability to recognize and respond to players’ needs creates a memorable player experience. This can turn a one-time customer into a repeat customer.
The presence of on-site player information centers highlights an operator’s commitment to player safeguards. In Ontario, Canada, PlaySmart Centres annually support over 300,000 players in 26 casinos. The staff provide players with information about safer play, offer educational events as well as support. Annual evaluations consistently demonstrate that the centers are highly valued by both players and operators.
MEASURING THE IMPACT OF RG
Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and ongoing evaluation are essential to measure the effectiveness of RG, especially since the industry is constantly evolving. Program evaluations, customer research and accreditation are just a few of the tools operators and regulators use to measure RG programs.
These results inform continuous improvements to RG programs and offer recommendations, to regulators, for policy changes that enhance sustainable play.
For more information, visit www.responsiblegambling.org.