All posts by Katja Männer

Magnus Ryding Guest Article for Playscan

What is responsible gambling?

When listening to decision makers and reading reports about the future of gambling politics one hears very nice words. Responsible Gambling is one of them. But what does it actually mean? What is it really, besides nice wordings?

 

Responsible Gambling is about several things. In this short article I shall try to clarify the concept of Responsible Gambling from my perception and experiences.

 

Responsible Gambling is, for example, how the operators market and sell their products. It’s about what kind of helping tools the operators provides and how they expose and market them towards the player. Helping tools are mostly voluntary and aimed for the players to keep track of their gambling, and the ability to test, restrict or disconnect itself from gambling. Responsible Gambling is also about what kind of games the operators choose to provide and market, how these games are designed, the size of repayment etc. It´s about the training and education the operators offer their staff, for example how to warn and inform about the risks associated with gambling and where to turn if a player has a problem.

 

So far, so good.

 

However, the most important issue of gambling is a bit forgotten in the debate. It is about the way in which gambling companies communicates with the player who is showing signs of a problematic gambling behaviour.

 

Actions and communication

How do the gambling companies get the player to reflect upon their own gambling behaviour in an accurate manner – without violating the player’s privacy?

What actions do the gambling companies take when they see a customer suffering from an obvious gambling addiction and where there’s reason to suspect that the player could damage themselves and others by their behaviour?

And what actions do the gambling companies really take when they see a customer, in a desperate manner, loose one million after another?

Should they act in a responsible way? Or should they just sit around and watch, collecting the money and hoping that the player himself will eventually come to understand and find the gambling company’s voluntary responsible gambling tools?

 

The goal of different actions in the name of responsible gambling is to put customers’ well being before maximum profit. It’s also about reducing the excesses of gambling, such as abuse, addiction and crime. But when it comes to this, the attitudes and knowledge varies tremendously between different gambling companies.

 

Many gambling companies do take this very seriously and is working actively on the issue, while many others make a clear distinction: some even argue that it’s not their responsibility. These gambling companies choose to not communicate with their customers. Some companies do not even have the technical means for identifying problem gambling. Moral responsibility does not exist in these companies and they have no problem with living on profitable gamblers.

 

In conclusion, it is time for a new modern gaming regulation and approach. Primarily to embed effective responsible gambling measures in the criteria for authorization and to change licensing and supervision.

 

Magnus Rydeving runs the company Spelnykter, operating in three areas: trainings/lectures on gambling addiction, consultant and adviser in gambling issues and motivational coach (motivational interviewing MI) for people with gambling problems. Magnus himself has a background as a former gambling addict.

Visit his website: www.spelnykter.se

Playscan now available for the offshore gambling sector

With Consumer Protection and Responsible Gambling high on the regulatory, media and operator agenda this year, Playscan is able to provide Offshore Operators and System Suppliers a proactive technical solution towards harm minimization.

Up until now the consumer protection solution Playscan has been exclusively sold to WLA (World Lottery Association) and EL (The European Lotteries) member state lotteries. Playscan AB is now presenting the Responsible Gambling solution deeper into the industry by educating gambling regulators on the technology and proactive benefits behind player tracking.

 

Mark Knighton, CSO of Playscan AB says: “With numerous regulatory changes taking place in the global gambling market, Playscan AB has now commenced in-depth discussions with a number of leading global gaming companies and gaming platform suppliers with the sole intention of deploying Playscan.”

 

Mark Knighton continues “Playscan provides the player with unique targeted communication, ensuring that a higher level of informed choice is offered to the player about their actual gambling behaviour.” Playscan also provides invaluable information to assist the operators, in their own Corporate Social Responsibility and Responsible Gambling strategies to be able to raise the bar towards Harm Minimization.

 

For more information, contact:

Mark Knighton,

CSO Playscan AB,

Telephone +46-702 32 15 23

Mike Randall Guest Article for Playscan

No time to rest on your laurels


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.

www.engageatlantic.ca

 

Norsk Tipping launches online games

Norsk Tipping will be launching online games in 2013. As part of the company’s social responsibility, the customers will be offered the Swedish Responsible Gambling system Playscan™ – a solution that strives to create a sustainable and healthy gambling environment for the players.  

 

Norsk Tipping will use Playscan™ on all products, including VLT’s, thus becoming the first gaming company in the world that uses the responsible gambling tool Playscan™ in VLT-machines.

 

–  It’s exciting that Norsk Tipping will use Playscan™ as one of the key solutions in its gaming strategy when they go online. Playscan™ is an excellent solution to educate the online players and create awareness about Responsible Gambling, says Ann-Sofie Olsson, CEO Playscan AB.

 

Playscan™ provides the player an opportunity to control and monitor changes in their gambling habits by using unique targeted communication and in-depth analysis of their actual gambling behaviour. Playscan™ is designed to make players aware of their gambling habits and proactively keep their gambling behaviour healthy.

 

By providing an informed choice early in the gambling experience, the operator also gets an opportunity to create a sustainable relationship with their customers.

Kombispel launches online games where Playscan is available from day one

When the Swedish lottery Kombispel goes online with bingo, mini-games, scratch tickets and there game “Bonus Chansen” it will be in combination with the consumer protection tool Playscan from day one. The system helps players to understand and control their gambling habits

 

Kombispel will be the first lottery in the world where the players from day one can use Playscan. In earlier versions of Playscan it has been necessary to collect data during six months before Playscan has been able to provide a result for the player.

 

– Internet is the growth market in gambling. Thus it feels good that we now can provide our customers with a wide range of fun and entertaining games in a safe and responsible environment, where Playscan is a natural part of the offer, says Anders Jansson, CEO of Kombispel.

 

In the preparations for the launch, Playscan has always been a natural part of the offer. The players own view of their game, and their actual gambling habits, are taken into account when analyzing how players gambling habits change over time.

 

–  We have strived to be a natural building block of a lottery’s responsible gambling offering online. Thus it is with great pleasure that Kombispel will become the first operator that has Playscan as a part of their offering from day one, says Ann-Sofie Olsson, CEO Playscan AB.