Player protection – It’s important so let’s work together on this!
Player protection and the promotion of safer gambling feature high on the agenda for operators. Pressure is increasing on operators to improve efforts in this area. Here’s KnowNow MD, Paula Murphy with a look at a recent news story and an introduction to our forthcoming Player Protection Forum.
Player protection is such an important and serious topic for anyone working in or around the gambling industry. A lot of pressure is put upon operators to improve efforts in this area and rightly so. But are we being given the opportunity to understand the evidence we have about gambling related harm and implement strategies that make significant difference to people’s lives in a climate where results are expected immediately and you can’t do right for doing wrong?
Last Sunday, the Sunday Times published an article attacking GamCare! Yes, GamCare! You know – the charity who helps thousands of people suffering with gambling related issues and provide initiatives like the Safer Gambling Standard designed to promote industry best practice and raise standards for customer protection.
What was their heinous crime? Well they moderate their forum to ensure it is a place where those who are suffering harm can go to gain support. Where the focus is firmly on helping them deal with their problem. This means that the rules of the forum state that users must not post comments or links that lobby against gambling industry services or promote political lobbying against the gambling industry. Any such posts are removed in line with these rules and the goal of giving people help when they need it. Read More.
Surely I can’t be the only one left scratching my head wondering how on earth such a story can be deemed newsworthy or how people can think that undermining an organisation like GamCare puts them on the side of the angels. OK, I know that is a flippant remark to make but it feels like this is where we are headed. Any kind of common sense, collaboration, understanding or evidence is in danger of being thrown out of the window in favour of an “if you are not with us, you are against us” mob mentality.
Prohibition does not work.
“So here is how I see it – people are going to gamble. People have gambled for millennia and will continue to do so even if it were outlawed.”
Prohibition does not work, overregulation does not work either. We need a sensible approach to ensure that people are able to gamble safely and understand the risks involved. Furthermore we need to have effective regulation and an industry that is committed to the highest possible player protection standards.
We need to focus on the right areas and look at the pressing issues to find solutions that will enable us to minimise harm.
National Education Programme.
Let’s not tell our kids that all gambling is bad and should not be spoken of. Instead let’s provide preventative measures, an education programme that lifts the lid on what the dangers are.
At the KnowNow Player Protection Forum on 21st May, we’ll be hearing from Lee Willows, CEO of YGAM and Mike Kenward, Development Director at GamCare about the first ever national education programme that the two organisations are collaborating to provide. Read More.
Problem gambling in women.
Let’s acknowledge that problem gambling is an issue for women and is increasing at a faster rate than it is for men. Liz Karter, leading therapist on gambling addiction and author of three books on gambling addiction in women, will be talking to player protection professionals from across the industry. She’ll be helping them address this issue and understand ways in which they can identify and address the problem.
Let’s look at VIP’s, loyalty rewards and inducements to gamble and talk about what a code of conduct might look like in this area. Furthermore let’s think about game design and how to communicate relative levels of risk to our customers.
Safer Gambling and a Culture of Player Protection.
We need to talk about the best ways to keep our commercial teams and player protection teams on the same page and to promote a player protection culture throughout our entire organisations. Let’s consider gambling harm as a public health issue and as a public relations issue and understand what all of this means for how we go about our business.
We must not lose sight of the fact that many of the staunch anti-gambling voices come from a place where they have experienced great personal pain due to problem gambling in themselves or loved ones. Player protection is crucial because problem gambling can and does ruin lives. I’m just a believer that player protection is about gaining knowledge and employing measures that enable people to gamble is a safer environment. An environment that rights any past wrongs and closes the loopholes that lead to people falling down the cracks.
We will be doing all of this and more at the Player Protection Forum on 21st May in London. Join us to hear from the experts and speak to industry colleagues and how they are tackling player protection.
Player Protection Forum.
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