There were some big messages coming out of the 3rd Annual KnowNow Conference on Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators and Keeping Crime Out of Gambling with a stellar line-up from all sides of the discussion. It was also important that the two days were not seen in isolation but as an integrated approach to the whole question of looking at better safeguards for players allied to the legislation that has been aimed at the gambling industry. Conference Chair, Adrian Sladdin, Director of Seventh Wave Corporate Training, outlines the key points for operators to take away and share:
Brigid Simmonds, Chair of the Betting & Gaming Council, and David Clifton, partner at Clifton Davies Consultancy Limited, shared a fireside chat to look at the current state of the gambling industry with a wide-ranging conversation, looking at current legislation, the industry’s advertising as well as education and player protection. This was echoed by Jason Chess in his regulatory round-up. It was widely agreed that the current perception of the industry was not positive in the light of particular stories which have been in the news and that even when the industry does achieve a positive move or is to be congratulated, this rarely makes the news. Even standing still is difficult and it seems that there will be a price to pay going forward. In the words of Chair, Adrian Sladdin, the industry currently suffers from a ‘Polonius Complex’ in which it can be entirely contradictory in its desire both to safeguard and make profits simultaneously.
A major issue is the ‘sticking plaster’ approach to solving some of the problems which currently beset the gambling industry, whether legal or ethical. With the former, there is the need for some big picture thinking around new technologies which can operate across all the operators, without the need for GDPR issues being raised. Clearly AML is the most talked about issue, especially in the light of the most recent legislation, and conference heard a number of excellent presentations on this, personal licence holders and source of wealth and funds, as well as some up-to-date references to crypto-currencies.
Two presentations at conference focused on over-arching solutions to affordability and to player protection. BeBettor looked at players using multiple operators to gamble to see how both a spending pattern and an average monthly spend could help operators know if players are working within sensible financial parameters. HooYu looked at the on-boarding process for operators, currently an unwieldy and time-consuming process, which could be better managed through a centralised process and access to a wide range of player information.
Jonathan Parke gave an excellent presentation on the psychology of the problem gambler and the nature of addiction. This was allied to the lived experience in a video from Mark Potter a former rugby player and problem gambler, designed to look at the nature and success of interventions in the gambling environment. Although there is much for the industry to do in this area by way of avoidance, there was also the importance of hearing about the after-care provided by Gordon Moody Associates and Gamcare. There was also the need for better education and staff training, highlighted by both Epic Risk management and Seventh Wave Corporate Training.
In the face of the onslaught of negative publicity against the gambling industry, it was argued by conference that there is a need for strong, individual leadership on behalf of all parts of the gambling and gaming industry. Previous ‘safe’ discussion platforms seem to have increasingly been hijacked and there is an increasing agenda around the notion that all gambling is bad. The industry should look to establish its voice in the media through the appointment of a recognised, trusted and experienced individual from its own ranks to lead on this agenda.
A great number of experts spoke wisely about the need for change in the industry with a clear warning that if the industry does not take self-regulation as the way forward, it will probably find further and weightier legislation coming its way.