Each year CSR leaders in the online gambling industry meet to discuss initiatives, regulations and the importance of responsible gambling at Clarion’s WrB London. Last year I had the pleasure to interview one of my favorite CEOs in the online gambling industry today, Jesper Karrbrink of Mr. Green, to learn about “Green Gaming” and the tool for players that powers it.
One year later, Karrbrink presented Mr. Green’s progress with the Green Gaming initiative at WrB London 2018 and as I was unable to attend, I wanted to dedicate my column to spotlighting the good work he and his company are doing.
Mr. Green’s Green Gaming initiative- one year in
“This is still one of our main topics when it comes to wanting to develop the company, we are investing a lot of resources and money into this”, Karrbrink told me at the start of our interview.
“Approximately 10% of our players are at a high risk of becoming problematic gamblers and we have a responsibility and we want to take that responsibility. In the last year we launched the Green Gaming tool kit and its been up and running for a year, we are improving it all the time and we are actually launching a new version pretty soon”, he said.
“But we also built a totally new organization. So we are basically twelve people totally focused on Green Gaming today and really trying to get this into the depth of the company. So since the last year, there have been a lot of things, Karrbrink added.
While Mr. Green have already dedicated plenty of time, additional staff and money to the initiative, Karrbrink is keen on injecting even more power into the project to establish 100% player adoption. At present, he believes not enough players are participating.
“To be honest I’m a bit disappointed, we have had this as an opt-in and we said we’d start with launching it as a product, putting it on the site and promote it as any other product and it has an opt-in rate of approximately 15%. So 15% of the players chose to use this. I thought it would be higher, I thought it would be 50% or something like that”, he shared.
“Fair enough, we haven’t pushed it in super big commercial campaigns, we’ve done some TV, we’ve done some advertising about it, but still, 15% is a bit too low in my opinion. But on the other side, its the players’ choice, its only 15% that choose to. Of these 15%, approximately a third are setting or changing their limits after they come into the program and that’s OK, but that’s not super good either”, he added.
Karrbrink’s future plans for Green Gaming
In an effort to increase the participation rate from 15%, Karrbrink has aggressive plans for Green Gaming, however, he and his team have unsurprisingly run into some regulatory roadblocks.
“We want to turn this compulsory so if you want to play with Mr. Green, you have to use the tool. In Sweden, this will be good by itself with the new legislation, in the other markets we are still struggling a bit with GDPR because our legal advice has said since we are doing a questionnaire and the data and these could be seen as a diagnosis”, he explained.
“I’m not even sure I agree with this, but that’s what legal is saying and if that is the case, we need to have an explicit opt-in from the players. We are now trying to challenge this, Sweden comes quite easily because the gaming laws there are overruling, or above the GDPR rules- there’s some legal stuff there [laughs] – and that’s good because we want to have this for all our players”, he said.
Taking KYC to a new level with transparency
In order to remain compliant, all gambling companies are focused on KYC and monitoring their players for at-risk behavior, taking appropriate action when necessary. What Mr. Green is doing differently is transparency in their monitoring.
“With the Green Gaming tool, we turned it into an automated and digital tool, but also a transparent tool”, said Karrbrink.
“So we are showing all this to the players and that’s where we differ from the others, in the sense that we want to give this data to the players, we want to tell them you are playing a bit too fast, its not enough that we know it and we might react a bit too late, or we only react on those that actually have become red. When me as a player, I see I go from green to amber, for me, it’s a signal to perhaps slow down a bit. And we want to give this to all our players”, he explained.
“We are also integrating the communication on the site so we will prompt you with different communication messages depending on where you are on the risk level and we will also implement this in our one-to-one lobbies going further. So we are really taking this into the individual level of the player, building it into the product”, he added.
CSR program and support for charity work
CSR is an integral part of Mr. Green’s DNA and it always has been. Not only does the operator look after the well-being of their players, they look after the well-being of those in need by encouraging employees to participate in charity work.
“For a pretty long time we’ve had an extensive CSR program. One of the things is that any employee can get up to a month of free time, fully paid, to do voluntary work – could be whatever- we’ve had people in India helping at schools for children, building in other parts of the world, building homes for animals, etc- so as long as the cause is justified, you get the month off and its fully paid”, Karrbrink said.
“I think that’s a pretty cool thing to do and a lot of the employees like to do these things and are jumping on such an offer. We have 29 nationalities, the average age is 32, it’s the perfect proposal for an organization like this”, he said.
Giving back to the local community
Mr. Green, a Malta-based organization, also looks after their local community and encourages fellow iGaming operators to do the same.
“We’re running our ‘clean the ocean’ program here Malta, so we have for two years in a row now equipped a boat with people and collecting plastic from the ocean. And we do this because we care about this island, we like to be clean, but most of all we want to send a signal”, shared Karrbrink.
We have sponsored two White Flag beaches here in Malta. This is a government initiative and we have financed the clean-up of these beaches. So they are clean on the beach but they also brought in a team of ten divers to totally clean the bottom of the sea. To be totally plastic-free”, he said.
“They are inspected every year, this project is five years, there are two beaches and they are now totally plastic-free. We hope that we could encourage the rest of the iGaming industry and Malta to do the same, help the Maltese government to make this island’s ocean plastic-free”, Karrbrink added.