EGBA: sustainability must be at the forefront of industry agenda

Player safety

The European Gaming and Betting Association is calling for “greater engagement, responsibility, and cooperation between stakeholders both inside and outside the industry,” following the publication of its annual Sustainability Report.

With headline figures showing increases in the number of customer accounts, usage of safer gambling tools and promotion of personalised messaging, Secretary General Maarten Haijer also reserved space to urge greater cooperation and elaborate on increasing regulation.

Regarding the former, despite acknowledging “positive progress” in recent years, a need to maintain momentum is hailed as “crucial” due to actions of select operators. 

In an opening address, Haijer said that there are still too many that “continue to behave outside the norms of society, damaging not only their own reputation but undercutting the wider industry’s credibility”.

Adding: “These operators need to wake up to the changing political and regulatory landscape: it is not 2007 and this is not a nascent industry anymore.”

In addition, despite admitting that the Brussels-based trade association does not agree with all regulation that is witnessed, he noted that this is simply “part of being a mature industry”.

“These operators need to wake up to the changing political and regulatory landscape”

“Rather than pointing the finger at ”overregulation’, those operators should acknowledge that politics reflect broader societal demands, ask themselves why regulations are tightening, and work together with other industry stakeholders, including EGBA and its members, to find answers to society’s demands,” Haijer commented.

The group’s latest sustainability report aims to detail the joint efforts and progress made by the association and its members to promote safe and sustainable gambling, as well as contribute positively to society across Europe.

This shows that the number of customer accounts increased five per cent year-on-year to 31.2 million, with the male and female split highlighted as 74 per cent to 26 per cent. The 26-35 and 36-50 year age brackets were the largest, representing 30 per cent each. 

On the safer gambling front, the number of users utilising at least one safer gambling tool increased 60 per cent to 18.4 million. 30 per cent of these reported doing so voluntarily.

Deposit limits were unsurprisingly the most popular of these, accounting for 67 per cent of the tools used by customers.

In addition, a 20 per cent increase in communications regarding the promotion of safer gambling tools was reported, with this figure reaching 45.5 million.

Of these, 21.7 million were personalised, up 42 per cent, meaning that the share of personalised messages rose to 48 per cent of all safer gambling communications, contrasted to 40 per cent one year earlier.

A 51 per cent reduction in financial losses was reported in the three month period that directly followed intervention. A five per cent increase to 76 per cent in dedicated employee training is also reported.

“We’re delighted that our members continue to make positive progress”

Contributions to problem gambling research, education, and treatment across the continent increased 109 per cent to €49m, however, a five per cent drop in donations to charities and community initiatives saw €127m donated.

Employee numbers across the land-based and online space increased 11 per cent to 66,386, with the male and female split standing at 57 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively.

Total greenhouse gas emission and energy consumption each increased, alongside the usage of renewable energy.

“We’re delighted that our members continue to make positive progress in their efforts to promote safer gambling,” Haijer concluded.

“This is all part of their commitment to put a sustainable approach to gambling at the heart of what they do. The contribution of our CEOs in this report demonstrates their personal and crucial commitment to the collective sustainability drive of the association. 

“We’re particularly pleased this year to expand the scope of our sustainability reporting and to publish for the first-time new data points about our members’ progress in the areas of employment and diversity, as well as metrics on energy and environmental performance.”