WrB London “Responsible Gambling Innovation” 2017 recap

WrB London "Responsible Gambling Innovation" 2017 recap

London’s annual instalment of Clarion’s WrB series took place on September 12th, 2017 at the OXO Tower.  This year’s theme was “responsible gambling innovation”, attracting a European audience wishing to implement the best responsible gambling strategies within their respective organizations.

The conference’s session room was dedicated to topics ranging from minimizing digital addiction to building a responsible culture within an organization, responsible gambling economics, self-exclusion, shaping social perception and more.  In between sessions, delegates were treated to lunch and several networking breaks, all while taking in breathtaking views of the River Thames.

Hillevi Stuhrenberg, Manager for Responsible Gaming & CSR of Betsson Malta Ltd, delivered today’s presentation on how to build a responsible and transparent culture within your organization.

Stuhrenberg mentioned how much Betsson has grown as a company and what challenges this presents for successfully communicating a responsible gambling strategy internally.  Betsson started off with four brands under its wing and has ballooned into 20+ brands by acquiring smaller companies, companies that were set up to be sold.  “It was a shock to all of us to communicate when we grew…when Betsson was smaller, it was easier to communicate”, she shared.

Stuhrenberg emphasized the importance of a “top to bottom” approach for achieving responsible gaming and said senior management absolutely must be involved.

“In terms of maintenance, the job is never done, it’s constantly evolving – its a continuous ongoing investment, an ongoing process”, she said.

In an effort to streamline internal communication, Betsson uses overarching tools such as JIRA so everyone can see the progress of responsible gaming initiatives.  Stuhrenberg said all Betsson employees receive internal and external training on problem gambling and there is an employee assistance program for employees who need help themselves or need help for family members.

The importance of using data to push forward responsible gambling programs was emphasized by Stuhrenberg and she said by using such data, Betsson research shows over the long term customers are “happier” when they have the option of setting voluntary deposit limits.

“Doing the right & fair thing does come at a cost, but so does refraining from having a long term view of sustainability and responsible gaming”, she said.

Today’s Responsible Gaming CEO panel featured Richard Flint of Skybet and Jesper Karrbrink of Mr. Green.  Karrbrink was delighted to announce the recent release of “Green Gaming”, an internal responsible gaming tool launched just yesterday.

“Green Gaming” is an “opt-in” feature for customers, connected with Mr. Green’s loyalty program and designed to alert players when their gambling behavior is bordering on problematic.  “Hopefully this tool will help players stay longer with us”, Karrbrink said.

Karrbrink recognizes the new tool might cost his organization some cash short term, but the long term benefits are worth the risk.  “Our focus should not be on making money.  Our focus is providing customers a good experience in a socially responsible environment.  The money will then follow”, he said.

Its one thing to launch a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program and another to be sure the entire organization understands it.  Karrbrink has found success in literally walking around his company and talking with people- do they understand what they are saying, or are they just saying it?

“Take the time to ‘do nothing’- no emails, no meetings- gather data from employees by speaking with them”, he said.

Flint agreed but said its harder for senior management to walk around and talk with employees of a larger organization for CSR feedback. He said at SkyBet, a bonus structure has been put in place for employees who are doing a good job with CSR and SkyBet actually takes their senior management out to meet real problem gamblers.

Betway’s Global Head of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs, Roger Parkes, spoke on today’s “Getting your responsible gambling economics right” panel.  Parkes’ main message was the importance of communicating and executing a responsible gambling strategy throughout an organization successfully.

Parkes explained how his team changed their whole concept on how they do business, they changed from “doing” compliance to “managing” compliance and found great results in this strategy by empowering each team to make their own CSR decisions.