A little under two weeks ago plans were released regarding the launch of the SBC Digital Summit, designed to unite the gaming and betting industries as the world continues to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.

Held across five days from 27 April – 1 May 2020 and boasting in excess of 140 expert speakers across a plethora of discussion areas, day two, Tuesday 28 April, sees a ‘Leadership in Gaming’ track take centre stage.

Taking place from (9:15am – 2:10pm, UK) gaming amid sporting cancellations, slots, live casino, poker and safer gambling are all set to be prominent explorations of debate with the ongoing effects of COVID-19 a prominent theme.

Martin Lycka, director of regulatory affairs at GVC, is set to participate in the latter of those panel sessions, and he spoke to CasinoBeats to explain how important online offerings could be in the coming weeks and months with more traditional conferences just not possible: “Online offerings, such as the SBC Digital Summit, are a welcome opportunity to exchange ideas on the latest regulatory and other developments in the industry, including those resulting from the testing times of late. 

“The SBC Digital summit will bring together a lot of talent from across the industry, which I’m certain will demonstrate our resilience and responsibility in response to the crisis. I guess the Summit will also break most people’s home isolation routines consisting in alternatively taking calls from the kitchen and the lounge.”

Safer gambling is even more critical to everything we do during these testing times”

Adding: “I am really looking forward to hearing from the other industry leaders what their views on how and in what shape we will have emerged from the current crisis, whether people and businesses will start approaching things differently in the near future and if so which ones. 

“It will also be interesting to find out what other people think about the interplay between online and land based as well as the individual product segments. Strategy as to dealing with the current absence of sport might vary as well, so I’m sure there will be a lot of debate about this issue as well.” 

Titled ‘Safer Gambling During Self Isolation,’ Lycka is to be joined in the discussion by David Williams, director of regulatory affairs at the Rank Group, among others.

Safer gambling is even more critical to everything we do during these testing times. People at home are exposed to the risk of boredom and all types of potentially resulting anxieties. It is a must to continue educating customers as well as the public at large about the risks associated with gambling and how they can be prevented and overcome,” it was added on advice GVC would offer with respect to the session’s title.

“GVC has announced that it will step up its efforts in this regard even further by a variety of means, including by launching even more prominent RG messages on our sites and other campaigns focused on safer gambling.” 

Last week Gamstop, the UK’s online gambling self-exclusion scheme, urged those who may be worried about their gambling while they are stuck at home during the COVID-19 lockdown to “exclude themselves from all online gambling websites” to limit the risk of problem gambling.

“The ongoing situation can even be an opportunity for the industry to further educate its customers on safer gambling”

Lycka added on the quotes from Gamstop’s chief executive Fiona Palmer: “Self exclusion is one of the options operators offer to their customers to manage their gambling; the others being all types of customer set and led limits as well as time out measures. As a reaction to the recent events, GVC is in the process of rolling out a curfew button as well as other new gambling management tools. 

“We are also introducing two new markers of harm specifically related to customers pre and post COVID-19 behaviour to further reinforce our ability to predict and prevent problem gambling. All in all, we are intent on leading the way in this regard in a bid to make sure our customers can gamble in a very safe environment.”

To conclude, attention turned to one potential strand of the session to address how operators ensure that compulsive gambling doesn’t also spike in society with customer behaviour undergoing a drastic change: “As discussed, there’s a variety of tools operators have introduced to help customers manager their behaviour.

“In addition, operators themselves take steps to steer customers towards safer gambling behaviour, including measures that are specifically designed to help customers deal with the current difficult times. 

“To end on a high, the ongoing situation can even be an opportunity for the industry to further educate its customers on safer gambling as people arguably have more time to learn about all sorts of new things.”