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Responsible gambling is the set of social responsibility initiatives by the gambling industry—including governments and gaming control boards, operators (such as casinos), and vendors—to ensure the integrity and fairness of their operations and to promote awareness of harms associated with gambling, such as gambling addiction.
Commitments to promoting awareness of gambling addiction is included within the concept of responsible gambling, and can include customer-imposed limits and self-exclusion schemes. In the United Kingdom, several major banks have also offered the ability for customers to block gambling-related translations on their credit cards. NatWest introduced a pilot in October 2019 to allow GamCare appointments to be scheduled at selected branches. Earlier in the year, the UK also imposed bet limits on fixed odds betting terminals as part of an effort to control gambling addiction associated with them.
In the interest of combating addiction, gambling operators in the UK are also obliged to provide certain tools allowing players to restrict their own play. These include:
- Self Exclusion / Time Out – allowing players to put their account on temporary (reversible) hiatus.
- Reality Check – a pop-up is triggered at certain time intervals to remind players to take a break / stop playing.
- Time Limits – used for setting strict time limits on playing sessions.
- Deposit Limits / Account Tracker – used for enforcing a limit on deposits.
- Permanent Account Closure – lets players close their account, and cut off all contact from the gambling operator.
The industry has also partaken in commitments to prevent those who are not appropriately-aged from participating in gambling activities. Key initiatives have included the efforts of the American Gaming Association (AGA), which adopted a comprehensive guideline for underage gambling, as well as the unattended minors guideline developed with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2017, the organization announced a code of conduct for its members, which included specific training requirements for employees to deal with underage gaming.
Fraudulent and criminal behaviour
Operators are required[by whom?] to implement anti-money laundering policies and procedures. This involves implementing effective know your customer processes when taking on new customers and tracking and reporting any suspicious transactions.
Information privacy refers to the protection of customer data and records against unauthorised or unnecessary disclosure. Operators are required[by whom?] to implement policies that ensure controls and measures are in place to prevent unauthorised disclosure and use of customer information. Customer information typically relates to data such as name, address, age, telephone number and email address.
Prompt and accurate customer payments
Operators must ensure that payments to and from customer accounts must be conducted according to formal and documented processes in an accurate and timely manner. Operators typically ensure that customer funds are managed separately from their own accounts and that they have sufficient cleared funds to pay all player prize wins and outstanding player balances.
All gaming products should be tested to ensure they are fair and random and that they adhere to the rules of that game. Testing to ensure fair gaming is increasingly carried out by independent organisations.
Ethical and responsible marketing
Operators should comply with the relevant regulatory advertising codes of practice which typically ensure that advertisements are factually correct and do not target underage or vulnerable gamblers, such as players who have self-excluded themselves from gambling. It is also expected that operators should seek permission from the customer prior to engaging in direct marketing through use of the customer’s personal details.
Customers should be able to freely make comments or complaints to operators and expect operators to have in place adequate processes and procedures to deal with complaints, either internally or via an independent third-party. For example, ecogra.org provides a mediation service for disputes between players and operators.
Secure, safe and reliable operating environment
Operators are required[by whom?] to demonstrate internal controls and processes that adhere to the licensing conditions as stipulated by the regulatory jurisdiction that issues gaming and gambling licenses. Internal controls should also be implemented to ensure that all operational, payment and technical systems and processes operate securely and effectively. In addition, operators need to demonstrate adequate business continuity management procedures to ensure that operations can continue in the event of unforeseen circumstances or disasters.
Responsible gaming codes of conduct
To ensure operators, software suppliers and associated service providers uphold the principles of responsible gaming, codes of conduct have been developed by numerous regulators, trade associations and non-profit organisations. These competing and overlapping codes of conduct or standards have evolved over time due to the evolution of multiple legal and trade frameworks.
It has been acknowledged within the industry that given the large number of responsible gaming codes of conduct there is a need to step back and re-assess what is required within the industry. The European Committee for Standardisation is the process of developing Responsible Remote Gambling Measures that can protect customers and ensure that the remote gambling operators, software suppliers and associated service providers behave responsibly, which would be adopted on a voluntary basis.
Responsible gaming events
A number of industry events have been organised to help the industry promote responsible gaming practices. The European Gaming and Betting Association organised the EGBA Responsible Gaming Day conference in the European Parliament in October 2010. The World Lotteries Association has actively organised events for its members to discuss and promote best practice in terms of Responsible Gaming. The European Association for the Study of Gambling's 8th Annual Conference in September 2010 was attended by academics, policy makers and industry representatives and much of its themes and discussions centred on responsible gaming.
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