SBC launches Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show with Feldman interview

SBC has launched a new video podcast featuring Entain Plc’s Senior Vice President for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling Martin Lycka as he looks closely at the way the industry is approaching player protection and social responsibility. 

Martin Lycka’s ‘Safe Bet Show‘ will see leading figures from the gambling industry placed in the hot seat as Lycka quizzes them on some of the topics central to the fight against problem gambling. 

In the inaugural episode of the Safe Bet Show, Lycka sits down with Alan Feldman (Distinguished Fellow, Responsible Gaming at UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation) to discuss all things safer gambling. 

Drawing upon his upbringing and relocation to Las Vegas, Feldman reflected on his parents’ concerns surrounding the betting industry and the preconception that casinos were both ‘greedy’ and ‘predatory’ entities. 

However, Feldman disclosed that once he started working within the industry, he noted a disjointedness between the public conversation about problem gambling and the discussions taking place within the casino walls which were more focused upon responsible play. 

He told Lycka: “When I got there, my first job in Las Vegas was at The Mirage. It was something that was completely different. Now I was on the inside of the business. Not only was the Mirage completely different in terms of what it was as a product, what I saw in the casino was also completely different. I didn’t see predatory practices, I didn’t see people strategising ways to make everyone lose their last nickel – it was quite the contrary.  

“I overheard conversations about the ways in which they could make people take a break. None of that was really public, there seemed to be a whole world that was going on in the casino that wasn’t being discussed publicly. The public side of what was being discussed was what you saw in Hollywood, which was the greedy, predatory nature of casinos.” 

Discussions soon turned towards the importance of peer-reviewed, scientific research in both identifying and treating problem gambling. Feldman explained that through collaboration with the National Centre of Responsible Gaming, it was found that 1% of gamblers in the US have a gambling disorder, while 4-5% of people have suffered harms associated with gambling.

Feldman continued: “You can take the brain scan of someone who has a gambling disorder – the disorder is the exact same thing [as someone who suffers from substance abuse]. But it’s 1% of people who gamble, it’s not 50% or 60% like some people have said. We have got to be very concerned about that 1% and be very focused on making sure that they get help, but we also have to be very aware that it is a very small percentage of people.

“Ironically, the group of people that we have ignored the most are the 95% of people who don’t suffer harm. 95% of people who gamble have fun, come back and do it again. That’s the group of people that we have all but ignored, and that’s where responsible gaming comes in. That’s the group of people we want to put a protective seal around and ensure that they stay that way. 

“We want to make sure that they don’t leak off and begin to have any sort of problems, especially now that gambling is becoming far more ubiquitous and easier to access because it’s online. I think responsible gaming is therefore becoming more and more important.”

Watch the full interview on GamblingTV

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