Panellists were put against the clock at the recent Canadian Gaming Summit as Martin Lycka, SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, quizzed the five strong line-up on three key problem questions.

In a debate session that was titled ‘responsible gaming as a driver for growth’, and that began with talk of Quebec’s maple syrup monopoly, the 45 minute discussion delved down a multitude of key avenues.

In the second of a three-part CasinoBeats special, Shelly White, CEO of the Responsible Gambling Council, Nav Sandhawalia, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer at Niagara Casinos, Dan Spencer, Director of Safer Gambling at Epic Risk Management, Jacob Coin, Executive Advisor to the Chair of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Aaron GlynWilliams, Director of Social Responsibility at the OLG, impart their wisdom once again.

ML: Are we efficient enough in promoting what we do, and proving what we’ve done and how well we’ve done it on the RG side of things?

SW: Over the past three years we’re hearing more conversation among leaders in the gambling industry, talking about how they feel that having a focus on responsible gambling is contributing to their sustainability, their bottom line as organisations. 

So they talk about by doing the right thing, they believe that it’s contributing to their sustainability. They also talk about how they believe that by doing the right thing, that it’s contributing to customer retention and customer loyalty.

“I think that we all do a good job of promoting our commitment to responsible gambling, proving it is a lot harder”

Aaron GlynWilliams, Director of Social Responsibility at the OLG

And there is some data that corresponds. Those operators who implement responsible gambling strategies do have higher rates of employee retention. Employees actually feel proud to be part of an organisation that walks the walk when they talk about consumer protection and customer care and that kind of thing. 

We know through ESG reporting, that there’s talk about how RG contributes to the value, the contribution, the good works, that a gambling industry provides to society, economic growth and development, etc. 

But I say believe because we don’t have a scorecard, we don’t have a set of metrics in order to prove this. And I believe that this is an extremely important next step for this industry to develop a common set of metrics to be able to measure and communicate the impact that responsible gambling and player health etc are having on the industry going forward.

AG: I think that we all do a good job of promoting our commitment to responsible gambling, proving it is a lot harder. But we know, we know the role that it plays. 

I think the position I take in the debate is not that it is a driver for growth, it is the driver for growth, especially moving forward. 

Our responsible gambling campaigns over perform our product campaigns on building trust in OLG, getting players to want to try our products. 

We know that we are losing revenue from players who self exclude. From those that self excluded, we lost two per cent in a previous year when we did the analysis.

“But really, for me, it’s building RG into the fabric of the DNA of our organisation”

Nav Sandhawalia, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer at Niagara Casinos

JC: If we believe first of all what we’re reading about these up and coming generations, the millennials, gen z’s, we’ve heard or read the stories that they say that they would rather spend their money supporting companies that have a social conscience, that believe and social justice, the environment and all these other things. 

And if we also believe that our current slot players, that demo is aging out pretty soon. The 60-65 year olds are not going to be able to visit our properties very much anymore. So we’ve got to focus on the millennials and the gen z’s as the new areas of growth. 

And RG programmes give us a perfect opportunity to give them this value proposition of how we treat our customers, how we care for them, how we prepare for them to protect their interest, is going to go a long way, we believe, in attracting this new demographic for future growth.

NS: More importantly how do you create that culture where you just feel it and everybody in the organisation cares? And I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that there’s people even in our organisation that really haven’t still bought in. 

So, how do you bring them along? How do you bring along the continuum, so they not only believe it, that they also share that with our customer. 

I think we have a way to go. You could say, oh we’ve done 100 per cent training, we’ve done that and this. But really, for me, it’s building RG into the fabric of the DNA of our organisation.

“We should all know by now problematic gamblers are not good for business”

Dan Spencer, Director of Safer Gambling at Epic Risk Management

DS: Let’s answer the question of the subject of this panel responsible gambling for growth. We should all know by now problematic gamblers are not good for business. So that should answer the question. 

I know clients of mine that have done private studies on why their customers choose them as a casino, and they cannot believe the percentage that choose them because they believe them to be an ethical operator. 

We’re dealing with a new generation coming through now that chooses to spend their money based on a set of moral and ethical values. And that is huge. 

What I need is for an operator to go and prove it to the rest of the industry. I need an operator to come out there and say we’ve focused so much on RG, we’ve closed down this percentage of accounts, and our profits have gone up. And here’s why.

To read the first part of this Canadian Gaming Summit special edition, click here.