Player Protection conference – Anyone up for stopping the witch hunt and working together instead?
We recently put our next digital conference, the Player Protection Forum, to market. Running it this way would not be our first choice but considering the global situation it’s the only way we can currently guarantee delivering the content. Anyone who has held conferences will be aware that digital events still incur costs for us as a business. So to avoid getting into a twitter debate we’ll hand over to our MD Paula Murphy to address some of the misconceptions about what we do and our business…
Problem gambling is a complex issue. There are many different stakeholders involved from the operators, their customers, regulators, legal professionals, experts by experience, academics, the organisations who provide support to people who have experienced harm, companies who provide solutions to help manage the problem, politicians – the list goes on and on.
I started a business in 2017 with the objective of trying to help make gambling safer. Ethical business is at the core of everything we do. We are not anti gambling. We recognise that many people enjoy gambling in a perfectly responsible way be it slots, sports betting, bingo, casino games, online or landbase. Humans have gambled for as long as there have been humans. History tells us that prohibition is never the answer to this kind of problem, it just fuels the black market.
We also can’t ignore the fact that the gambling industry provides jobs for over 100,000 people in the UK alone and contributes around £3billion to our economy. It goes much wider than the economic facts though. Gambling is not all bad! Try and tell that to the people who’s only social contact is at the bingo or the syndicates who are brought together through sports betting.
Experts by experience.
I am in no way trying to minimise or negate the huge human impact problem gambling has on our society. Lives can literally be ruined. We know that it can lead to debt, breakdown of relationships, legal issues, abuse, mental health problems and even suicide.
At KnowNow we have never shied away from this reality. Over the course of our events we have heard from many experts by experience whose stories have been an invaluable way for everyone involved to relate to the human impact and to understand why this is something that should be at the top of our agenda.
The operators who work with us and attend our events do not shy away from this either. I am aware of practices and procedures that have been improved as a direct result of hearing experts by experience speak in our sessions. Something I am very proud to have played a part in! The people I am honored to call my customers are not faceless monsters, they are also human beings who care deeply about what they are doing and work tirelessly to provide a safer gambling environment.
I firmly believe that the answers lie in addressing this complex issue on multiple fronts. We need to understand the psychology behind it, ways to spot potential problems, know how best to interact with those who may be vulnerable or at risk. We need to deploy technology that can help in this pursuit, be aware of the legal position, design our products with player protection in mind, review our practices and develop an ethical culture throughout the industry. It’s no small task and it’s not foolproof but it is, in my humble opinion, best achieved by working together, learning from each other and sharing what we know.
Digital Conference. The Player Protection Forum.
We recently put our next digital conference, the Player Protection Forum, to market. It’s going to be digital in January – not my first choice but completely outside of my control. I put a lot of research, work, care and attention into producing an agenda that I believe will actually help make a difference in the same way we have done at our in-person events in the past. Furthermore, I spend time educating myself on what is happening in the industry and fostering strong relationships with people from all sides of the equation. I try very hard to provide speakers, topics and content that will help make gambling safer. I work with integrity, I do not simply charge companies to speak making a buck for myself – I invite people to take part who I believe are going to make an impact.
Imagine my dismay when I then find my genuine attempts to do something positive attacked and ridiculed on social media. I make no apology for the fact that Matt and I run KnowNow as a business. I am a single parent with responsibilities at home and my time and effort is valuable. As a business we incur costs regardless of if our events are digital or in the real world. I’m not coining it in. I’m simply trying to earn a living whilst also giving something meaningful back.
It genuinely saddens me that there are people out there making noises to try and disrupt this, who don’t believe in working together, who don’t look into what they are talking about before launching an attack and who provide no solutions – just criticism. I pondered if writing this down was sensible and worthwhile. I am not here to make enemies, the opposite actually – I’m here because I care and I think anyone who knows me and has worked with me would back that up.
The Player Protection Forum is in market. We’ll be running the event in January and would love to see as many people from across the industry who also care about addressing these issues take part. I think we have a cracking agenda. The day is about the content. If you think there are areas we should look to cover, drop me a line and let me know – I want to work with you.
Tickets are on sale now. Check out the agenda here. We hope to see you there.