Let’s get serious about a socially responsible, crime free gambling industry
The gambling industry has been in the headlines again. Over the past few days I’ve seen stories about gambling sponsorship of junior footballers shirts, people who have self excluded being contacted by operators and casino style games on Facebook.
Then of course there is the big one – The UK Gambling Commission has written to online casino operators regarding concerns about anti-money-laundering prevention measures and problem gambling. They are carrying out investigations of 17 providers and have gone as far as to say they are considering a licence review of 5 operators because of their findings.
This doesn’t really come as a surprise. We’ve all seen it on the horizon. During my research calls for the events we are running next week I was told by numerous people that someone big would lose their licence sometime soon. Of course that’s speculation and opinion but the climate was clear and has been a long time in the making, since gambling laws were libralised by Tony Blair’s government over 10 years ago.
The UK is one of the most liberal regulated markets worth £14 billion in revenue, £2.8 billion in tax and employing over 106,000 people. Business has been booming and continues to grow. Operators obviously want to keep it that way and in the current climate that means taking compliance and social responsibility very seriously indeed!
Compliance professionals need to be armed with knowledge and information, listened to by the board and given senior roles and responsibilities within the business. This is not unprecedented – we have witnessed this professionalisation in other industries such as financial services following the global economic crisis in 2008.
Nobody really wants to be seen to be advertising to children and problem gamblers and nobody really wants to be regarded as inadvertently supporting criminal or even terrorist organisations through poor AML strategies. Surely the real goal for operators is to maintain business growth in an ethical way, attracting players who enjoy gambling responsibly and demonstrating best practice when it comes to keeping crime out of the industry.
Our events next week are designed to help operators get there. I put huge efforts into the program – Why? Well because it’s important now and it’s only going to continue to become more pressing in the future. I am not anti gambling and I don’t believe that it is the regulators against the operators. I firmly believe that all stakeholders need to work together on the common goal of safeguarding our industry.
On Wednesday 17th January, we will be looking at Keeping Crime Out of Gambling. Kicking off with an update from Neil McArthur, General Council and incoming Interim Chief Executive at the Gambling Commission. Followed by a day of industry leading experts talking about AML, fraud prevention, GDPR, blockchain and considerations for operators around new technology, new products and licensing
On the 18th January, we turn our attention to Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators. Here we will tackle a host of pressing issues ranging from how technology can help with social responsibility, new research on the characteristics of the thinking of gamblers, understanding addiction, developing and implementing a solid social responsibility program, practical case studies on creating culture change throughout your entire organisation, lifting the lid on high roller problem gambling and looking at how responsible marketing and PR can help the industry recover from this crisis.
There is still time to be part of the solution. Join us at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, 17th and 18th January.
Founder and Managing Director