The concept of responsible gambling is incomplete without a commitment towards spreading awareness of gambling addiction. This includes self exclusion plans and limits imposed by the customers themselves. Several UK banks also offer their customers the option to block all gambling related transactions on their credit cards. In the United Kingdom, several major banks have also offered the ability for customers to block gambling-related translations on their credit cards. A pilot program launched by NatWest allowed GamCare appointments to be scheduled at selected branches. The UK Government also imposed bet limits on fixed odds betting terminals in an effort to control the levels of gambling addictions caused by them. Let’s find out more about the steps taken under responsible gambling to combat gambling addiction.
Responsible Gambling: What It Entails
What are some obligations of gambling operators to encourage responsible gambling?
To combat gambling addiction, British gamvbling operators are required to provide the following tools on their platforms:
- Self Exclusion / Time Out – allows players to put their account on temporary (reversible) hiatus.
- Reality Check – periodic reminders via pop ups to remind players to take a break from gambling.
- Time Limits – gambling sessions are restricted by duration.
- Deposit Limits / Account Tracker – enforces a limit on deposits.
- Permanent Account Closure – allows players to permanently close their accounts and sever all contact with gambling operators.
Responsible gambling: Preventing underage gambling
The industry has also partaken in commitments to prevent those who are not appropriately-aged from participating in gambling activities. Key initiatives have included the efforts of the American Gaming Association (AGA), which adopted a comprehensive guideline for underage gambling, as well as the unattended minors guideline developed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2017, the organization came up with an official code of conduct for all its members which required employees to undergo specific training requirements to prevent underage gambling.
Responsible gambling: Combating fraudulent and criminal behaviour
Anti money laundering procedures and policies are mandatory for all gambling operators. Policies such as effective know your customer processes when onboarding customers and tracking and reporting any suspicious transactions.
Responsible gambling: Information privacy
Information privacy deals with the security and protection of customer records and data from unauthorised or unnecessary disclosure. Operators must implement policies that ensure controls and measures are in place to prevent unauthorised disclosure and use of customer information. Customer information generally refers to information such as name, address, age, telephone number and email address.
Responsible gambling: Prompt and accurate customer payments
All transactions made to and from the customers’ accounts should be accurately and timely conducted in a formal and documented manner. Operators typically allow for customer funds to be managed separately from their own accounts. They also must have sufficient cleared funds to pay all player prize wins and outstanding player balances.
Responsible gambling: Fair gaming
All gaming products should be tested to ensure they are fair and random and that they adhere to the rules of that game. Such testing for fairness’ purpose is usually carried out by independent organizations.
Responsible gambling: Ethical and responsible marketing
Operators need to comply with all of the regulatory advertising codes of practice. This ensures that the advertisements don’t propagate any false narratives nor do they target people from vulnerable groups such as underage gamblers and former gambling addicts who have self excluded themselves from gambling in order to fight the addiction. It is also expected that operators should seek permission from the customer prior to engaging in direct marketing through use of the customer’s personal details.
Responsible gambling: Customer satisfaction
Customers must have the ability to provide feedback or register complaints to the gambling operators. The operators must have sufficient resources to manage the aforementioned complaints. The complaints should be dealt by an internal team or through a third party. For example, ecogra.org provides a mediation service for disputes between players and operators.
Responsible gambling: Secure, safe and reliable operating environment
Operators are mandated to demonstrate internal controls and processes that adhere to the licensing conditions that are mentioned by the regulatory jurisdiction that has issued their gambling and gaming licenses. Internal controls should also be implemented to ensure that all operational, payment and technical systems and processes operate securely and effectively. On top of that, operators must showcase sufficient business continuity management procedures to ensure that operations carry on in the event of unforeseen accidents or natural disasters.
Responsible gambling: Responsible gaming codes of conduct
Codes of conduct have been developed by numerous regulators, trade associations and non-profit organisations in order to ensure that operators, software suppliers and associated service providers don’t stray away from the principles of responsible gambling. These competing and overlapping codes of conduct or standards have seen an evolution over time as a result of the manner in which legal and trade frameworks have evolved.
The industry insiders have acknowledged that the industry needs to step back and reassess what’s required within. This acknowledgement has been brought upon by the large number of responsible gaming codes of conduct. The European Committee for Standardisation is the process of developing Responsible Remote Gambling Measures that can protect customers and ensure that the remote gambling operators, software suppliers and associated service providers behave responsibly, which would be adopted on a voluntary basis.
Responsible gaming events
In order to promote responsible and healthy gaming practices, a large number of industry events have been organised over the years. The European Gaming and Betting Association organised the EGBA Responsible Gaming Day conference in the European Parliament in October 2010. The World Lotteries Association has been actively involved in organising events for all of its members in order to promote and discuss the ideal practice for responsible gaming and gambling. The European Association for the Study of Gambling’s 8th Annual Conference in September 2010 was attended by academics, policy makers and industry representatives and much of its themes and discussions centred on responsible gambling.
Responsible gambling: The role of BeGambleAware
BeGambleAware provides information to help people make informed decisions about their gambling. BeGambleAware aims to help people discover more about gambling and introduce them to the world of safer gambling. The organisation aims to help gamblers understand and recognise the risks of gambling, and show them where to go for further information, help and support should they need it.
BeGambleAware is an independent, grant-making charity commissioning prevention and treatment services across England, Scotland and Wales in partnership with expert organisations and agencies, including the NHS, across three areas:
- Commissioning the National Gambling Treatment Service
- Producing public health campaigns on a national scale and providing practical support to local services
- Commissioning research and evaluation to improve knowledge of what works in prevention.
BeGambleAware is regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and the Scottish Charity Regulator. It is an independent organisation that has a framework agreement with the Gambling Commission. BeGambleAware has tied up with the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms within the context of arrangements that are based on the gambling industry’s voluntary contributions. GambleAware is the leading charity in the UK that is committed to reducing the harm caused by gambling. GambleAware funds education, prevention and treatment services and commissions research to broaden public understanding of gambling-related harm. The organisation aims to prevent people from getting into gambling related problems and provide swift and effective support for people who are suffering from the aforementioned problems.