Robust responsible gaming standards are vital to regulators, operators and players adopting a common understanding of safe, established RG practices.
In the past several years, legalized gambling has evolved from a traditional land-based experience of slots and tables to now include online casino, instants and sports betting across a diverse range of platforms.
With the emergence of new products and platforms and, as a result, new play experiences, comes the need for new approaches to player health and protection.
Player needs are diverse and complex, with different levels of game knowledge, experience, expectations and understanding of the risks of gambling at various points on the player journey. This range of gambling products and player types make the adoption of RG strategies and standards more important than ever.
A solid RG strategy is one that combines the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to achieve the common goal of protecting players and affected others from gambling harms. The relationship between regulators, operators and players is connected and strengthened by the adoption and execution of a common understanding of safe, established practices across a range of areas from employee training to game selection and access to funds. Robust RG standards, such as those that comprise the Responsible Gambling Council’s RG Check accreditation, can help fill this need and provide guidance.
In both emerging and mature markets, adhering to rigorous standards demonstrates accountability, signals commitment and establishes transparency that builds trust. For regulators, having RG standards in place can ease the regulatory burden by creating a level playing field and a consistent approach. For operators, standards offer a set of indicators to assess performance while ensuring that key problem gambling risks are managed responsibly.
A comprehensive assessment against such standards can help translate the sites’ commitments and intentions into demonstrable outcomes and verify that an RG program is being executed as intended with associated impacts for employees and players. This type of social audit offers valuable insights into the effectiveness of a site’s RG efforts, provides a roadmap for continuous improvement and identifies priority areas to make better use of resources.
ACCREDITATION IS A TOOL TO MITIGATE RISK AND IDENTIFY EMERGING ISSUES
Accreditation is an independent, third party assessment which demonstrates to stakeholders that an organization is committed and transparent about how it maintains integrity, protects player health and minimizes harms caused by gambling. Internally, an actionable review of standards helps build an RG culture, strengthens employee engagement and facilitates integration of responsible gambling throughout an organization , and helps to manage risks and identify emerging issues. When combined with an actionable plan, the feedback from accreditation can stimulate innovation and learning within companies.
Accreditations for both online and land-based sites are an important tool for regulators and operators to measure site level performance as well as reduce overlap, create alignment and identify priority areas with other compliance, risk management and audit functions. RG Check’s focus, in particular, covers a broad range of areas including player education, player assistance, game features, marketing practices, responsible access to money as well as efforts of local community relationship building and collaboration with a particular emphasis on what is specifically in the operator’s control.
Solutions to reduce the harms associated with problem gambling throughout society must involve a collective approach among all actors through industry and government. Standards-based accreditation contributes to this work by providing stakeholders with a pulse on current practices and helps operators and regulators put player health at the forefront of the player experience.
The increasing complexity and ever evolving gambling landscape means the role of RG standards will only become more important over time.