World Regulatory Briefing – The industry has come far but must go further

Totally Gaming delivered the World Regulatory Briefing (#WrBriefing) in London’s iconic OXO tower yesterday with a packed out agenda of speakers both endemic and non.

An impressive line up included Sarah Harrison, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission, as Keynote Speaker. Harrison delivered a pinpoint 45 minute talk which was refreshingly frank.

Discussing the new National Responsible Gambling Strategy developed by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board (RGSB) she said in regards to the funding responsibility of operators: “How can it be fair that some operators, large and small, contribute year in and year out while others get a free ride?”

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Harrison backed up her assessment that operators as an entity weren’t doing enough by quoting some significant figures: “£6.5m to RGT for research, education and treatment under the voluntary funding arrangements. By contrast £120m was spend on TV advertising in the same year.

“That cannot be right. £6.5m is nowhere near enough. If the RGT were able to rely on a minimum of 0.1% of every operator’s GGY, that would provide a ballpark figure of £10-£11m – which is beginning to be a much more credible sum for such an important task.”

There were a number of talks by knowledgeable figures either side of Harrison’s address. The overriding theme of the day was that operators have come on leaps and bounds in promoting responsible gambling in recent years, by expanding their teams and investing in technologies to discover problematic gambling behaviours early.

There was also a lot of debate on tools for customers to use themselves and how to interact with potentially problem gamblers to best effect. The notion that the industry has come a long way but still has considerably further to go was also prevalent.

The first session of the day was chaired by John Hagan, Deputy Chairman of GamCare, with Roger Parkes, Betway’s Global Head of Compliance, Jan Jones Blackhurst, Exec VP of Government Relations and Corporate Responsibility at Caesars and Simon Plazner, Partner at Plazner Law.

They discussed shared value for all stakeholders from ensuring responsible gambling. Blackhurst offered some evidence as to why: ‘Millennials make decisions based on how they view you ethically as a company. That includes making employment decisions as well as consumer.”

Parkes noted how it has become far easier too to be given a budget for responsible gambling measures. He said: “It’s no longer nice to have, it’s have to have.”

The talk which followed was on ‘National and International Self-Exclusion Policies – Lessons learnt’. This featured Peter Hannibal, CEO of the Global Gaming Business Group as chair, Stella Dalton of GamCare, Richard Wade of Rank Group, Tracy Damestani of National Casino Forum and Howard Grant of IHL Tech.

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The remaining sessions before the break for lunch include Harrison’s keynote speech, a debate around pan-European data and analytics sharing and an engaging delivery by Silverfish Founder Laura Da Silva Gomes on integrating responsible gambling and social responsibility to create a sustainable business model.

The afternoon offered a further four talks including one poignant one from ‘industry outsiders’ including SABMiller’s Senior Manager Hannah Harrison.

There was also a debate on interaction vs intervention, followed by a Unibet case study by Maris Bonello and a closing talk on how to target different risk groups with Gambling Therapy’s Pedro Romero, Bet Buddy CEO Simo Dragicevic and YGAM Founder Lee Willows with Gambling Integrity Founder Malcolm Bruce moderating.

Check back in next week for a more comprehensive breakdown of selected sessions.