In the gaming sector, like every other industry, there can be a tendency to abandon commitments to being more socially responsible in the name of growth or progress. As public scrutiny surrounding gaming continues, gaming companies need to continue a commitment to harm minimization perhaps now more than ever. Two ways are through stakeholder engagement and research.
As many gaming organizations across the globe have continued to expand their commitments to responsible gambling, we are seeing a lag from global leaders who led the charge a decade ago.
In many cases, those lottery and gaming companies who virtually set the standard for responsible gaming measures, have not continued to be innovators and leaders- allowing many other organizations to catch up and become equals in the area of harm minimization and player protection.
As well, some organizations that introduced new standards and guidelines to ensure RG is consistently embedded within all operations have let those guidelines and standards slide in the name of sales and profits.
As a proponent of responsible gaming at all levels of gaming, I also understand how easy it is to let your commitment diminish and to rest on your laurels – knowing that you are still a leading organization in the global context.
I would argue however that you’re doing your players, your shareholders, your employees and your brand a disservice.
Like all leaders in any discipline, the challenge to remain cutting edge and innovative is great. And while many groups were either forced through legislation or contractual obligation to become world leaders in RG, the fact is they embraced the challenge and introduced some fantastic measures, protocols and procedures that have significantly contributed to harm minimization around the world.
Through stakeholder engagement and research
There are two areas in particular I believe all gaming organizations can spend more time focusing on that will ensure the continued innovative responsible gambling initiatives that foster informed player choice.
The first is stakeholder engagement. So much useful, practical and innovative information can come out of an ongoing two-way dialogue with all key stakeholders. This means taking the time to engage these groups on a regular basis and be willing to listen to the good, the bad and the ugly. The real key to engaging stakeholders is to make sure they see themselves and their values within your corporate positioning and approach. This means talking to employees, players, problem gamblers, non-players, shareholders, suppliers and other gaming organizations to really determine how they see you and what they expect from you.
Many organizations shy away from true engagement because some of what they hear can be difficult. That’s where the real opportunity lies. Embrace it.
Next is the area of research. While recognizing that it is costly, most organizations only pay lip service to research if they engage in it at all. Again, through partnerships with government, universities or responsible gaming organizations and councils, gaming companies can discover so much useful information that can lead to further innovations in the area of harm minimization and player protection. As well, the opportunity to work with companies like Playscan to integrate to technical innovations means that no gaming company has to leave responsibility to chance.
Here’s a call to those pioneers in responsible gaming. Problem gamblers still exist. Don’t stop exploring, seeking and leading to way to greater responsibility, transparency and informed player choice. It’s paramount to the industry’s long-term success.
Mike Randall is the founding chair of the WLA Independent Assessment Panel and the author of the RG Framework and self-assessment guide. Mike now consults for clients around the globe at Engage Atlantic.