The second annual WrB London took place today at the OXO Tower with an overall theme of Responsible Gambling Innovation. Clarion identified the rising importance of responsible gambling thought our industry and created a rich agenda this year addressing issues such self-exclusion policies, analytics sharing, integration of responsible gambling and social responsibility, interaction vs. intervention and segmented responsible gambling approaches.
In addition to fostering an intimate environment of learning and sharing of information throughout the sessions, WrB London provided ample opportunities for regulators, operators and suppliers to network over coffee, lunch and post- conference drinks.
Today’s keynote speech was delivered by Sarah Harrison MBE, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Harrison talked on the importance of creating one unified voice for managing problem gambling between retail and online gambling operators and how the UKGC will help facilitate the initiative.
“Operators are in a good position to help tackle gambling related harm”, she said.
Harrison encouraged operators in the room to take ownership of problem gambling prevention by contributing more money and resources to the cause, helping to close the enormous gap between the current expenditure on TV advertising vs. research on problem gambling.
“Britain can be the leader in this area”, she said.
Harrison complimented the gambling industry’s ability to innovate and said the UKGC encourages innovation and wants to focus on player protection in emerging markets such as crypto-currencies and eSports skins betting, especially where kids are exposed.
Today’s “Drawing on experience from other industries around self-regulation, sustainability, CSR and effectively communicating with all of your stakeholders” panel featured Hannah Harrison of SABMiller plc, Lauren Iannarone of Playtech and Ed Coke of Reputation Institute.
Iannarone opened up the discussion by sharing her experience in other sectors such as the energy sector that faces that challenge of “how do you grow when you’re facing environmental debates”. She also mentioned data transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.
Coke said properly executed CSR programs can give a “reputational halo” to a large number of organizations who get things right.
“Its not just about responsible gambling, its about your broader position about corporate responsibility”, he said.
SABMiller is the second largest brewer in the world, producing beer brands such as Peroni and Craft. Harrison said beer is a very local product, often brewed and distributed in the same place and therefore her company’s business depends on prosperous local communities.
“We looked at how we can grow our business in an inclusive way…as we grow, so do those communities. We look at responsibility as something that goes hand and hand with corporate growth”, she said.
Harrison mentioned how “purpose” is a buzz word in sustainable development strategy and said in the beer industry, they are doing a lot of thinking about each beer brand’s purpose.
“Its not just the liquid in the bottle, what does it say about you if you like Craft beer? Sustainability is an interesting way to help shape your purpose. If your beer is about craftsmanship, how can you help support the local community around you”, she said.
The “Responsible Gambling Innovation panel” featured Kira Mendelsohn of Sky Betting & Gaming, Dirk Hansen of GamCare, Allison Gardner of Camelot and Graham Weir of Ladbrokes with a core focus on “interaction vs. intervention”.
“Its about spotting customers earlier on that journey, interact with them to keep them on an even keel, you’ll stand a better chance of keeping that customer playing safely”, said Weir.
Gardner explained how lottery customers are different than more traditional gamblers and how what’s considered “red” for lottery is what’s “green” for other operators. As a result, Camelot’s interactions with at risk customers are very different than a gambling operator’s interactions.
“Because [lottery players] don’t consider themselves gamblers, they don’t respond well. Therefore our interventions are a lot softer”, she said.
Mendelsohn talked on the importance of using external data to help create the full picture of the customer in question. Does this person own a house? Do they have bad credit? The ability to use such external data will help operators get better at identifying the truly problematic players, she said.
When it comes to important responsible gaming initiatives at the moment, Weir said Ladbrokes is looking to better understand multi-channel behaviour, especially across retail and online. Ladbrokes is also working towards identifying ways to send messages to problematic players in real time.
At the conclusion of the event, Sadie Walters of Clarion Gaming shared how pleased she was with today’s turnout and the high level of discussions taking place throughout the day. She emphasized the importance of Responsible Gaming issues within our industry at present and mentioned upcoming WrB Events in Poland and Africa, additional support of how Responsible Gaming is truly a global issue impacting all aspects of our industry.