EUROMAT’s members represent a sector that, through a combination of tight national regulation and industry corporate social responsibility, is relatively low risk in terms of problem consumer behaviour; nonetheless EUROMAT recognises that it is in the interests of the sector that these high standards are maintained and, where possible, enhanced. This is why EUROMAT has a Committee for Social Responsibility in Gaming, and has asked its members to make five commitments on responsibility, which are set out on the responsible gaming section of this web site.
Of course tackling responsibility should be a collaborative effort with regulators. EUROMAT believes that the following elements are necessary on the part of public authorities to ensure effective responsible gaming policy in Member States:
1. Quality research to enable evidence based policymaking:
Credible studies should be the basis of any policy for social responsibility in gaming. It is the joint responsibility of government, industry and academia, supported by other stakeholders, to work together to assess the factors that trigger problem behaviour. The gaming and amusement industry can contribute by making industry data available to public authorities and in many cases the industry also directly funds research into problem behaviour; however, as governments derive substantial tax revenues from the industry, and this trend is increasing, EUROMAT and its members believe that a greater proportion of this revenue should directly fund the development of credible studies in this field.
2. Effective education and communication:
Education includes the provision of information to customers that would encourage them to play more responsibly and the training of personnel to enable them to provide better and more qualified assistance to customers.
3. Balanced regulation:
Successful regulation has to strike an effective balance between allowing adult consumers the right to exercise their free will to spend their leisure time and money as they prefer and the need to limit an activity to protect a minority of citizens who experience difficulties. In addition, ensuring even regulatory treatment of online and offline channels is a new and increasing challenge as the online sector offers players a range of gaming options. Depending on the precise jurisdiction, there are a range of mandatory and voluntary options open to regulators to achieve their objectives. In many cases, voluntary initiatives by industry, such as codes of practice, have been adopted by national regulators and transposed into mandatory requirements such as licence conditions. Some mechanisms, like age restrictions, are universal to all jurisdictions, whereas others vary based on the local social and cultural context.
4. The treatment of problem behaviour:
Effective treatment is an essential element of ensuring responsibility in gaming. It is not the role of industry to define appropriate forms of treatment to address different forms of play-related difficulty. EUROMAT believes that industry should support the development of evidence on behaviour, ensuring communication with and education of consumers, and signposting to the right support services.