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Destigmatizing problem gambling is crucial for a ‘safer’ industry, expert | World | News

According to a January 2023 report, around 0.5% of the UK adult population has a gambling problem, 3.8% play at risky levels and 7% are negatively affected by other people’s gambling.

The UK arguably has one of the largest gambling markets in the world, with a profit of £14.2 billion in 2020. However, it is arguably also the largest gambling market in the world. most developed money in terms of regulation and player protection, thanks to a long history of gambling. and extensive regulations and oversight from the Gambling Commission.

Added to this are initiatives such as Safer Gambling Week 2023, which takes place from 13th at 19th November, promote safer gambling through large-scale campaigns designed to reduce gambling harm across the country.

For Šimon Vincze of Casino Guru, a leading online gambling information platform, Safer Gambling Week 2023 is a new opportunity to join the ongoing efforts to improve player safety not only in the Kingdom -United, but all over the world.

In this exclusive interview, Vincze explains why there is no such thing as “completely safe gambling” and what Casino Guru is doing to help make it as safe as possible.

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What does “safe online gambling” mean to you?

There is no such thing as 100% safe gambling, as there is always a varied set of risks that accompany the activity. Being aware of the risks and taking them into account is fundamental to playing safely. Spending more money than you can afford, neglecting work or family commitments or spending too much time gambling are among the harms that can result from gambling.

The goal is to minimize this damage by combining several factors, including the responsibilities of several parties. This combines player awareness and self-management, casinos’ duty of care to interact with and protect those who show signs of problem gambling, and regulators putting in place functional environments and safeguarding rules.

Most people who play the game do so within their financial and time limits. Yet we know that gaming can be highly addictive and that too many people easily fall into this state when they cannot control themselves. They enter a vicious cycle of debt and lies that can harm them and their loved ones for a lifetime. The ideal is to avoid this path through prevention or abstinence, which is little appreciated by players, because the pleasure of the game takes precedence. For those who find themselves in a situation where they are unable to control their gambling, one of the things they can do is to self-exclude from online gambling.

What services do you offer to promote a safer online gaming environment and make it safer for players?

Self-exclusion is a particular tool of responsible gambling, believed to prevent individuals from gambling by creating a barrier between them and the activity, particularly for those who are unable to control themselves. It sounds simple, but the reason I stand out here is that self-exclusion is an imperfect concept.

One of the main problems is the limited scope of self-exclusion systems which apply either to a single casino or, in some countries, to all locally licensed casinos. However, anyone with an internet connection can access thousands of other casinos, as online gambling does not always respect national borders. At Casino Guru, we are determined to change this by launching a Global Self-Exclusion System initiative, which aims to create a system that will allow vulnerable players to self-exclude from gambling at virtually any online casino at the World level.

The scope issue is just the tip of the iceberg, as self-exclusion struggles to be effective. In addition to sensitive factors such as the verification of self-excluded players, false negatives or data sharing, there is also the lack of alignment between different jurisdictions. In fact, there is currently no international best practice for self-exclusion processes, leaving struggling actors dependent on vague methods of all kinds.

To change this, Casino Guru has teamed up with City of London University to develop recommendations on self-exclusion best practice. The Self-Exclusion Standards project combines research with a series of workshops from industry experts from different backgrounds, as well as consultations with wider stakeholders, to ensure transparency and accountability. In addition to City, the project brings together representatives from three continents and seven countries. The final recommendations will be publicly available and further research is planned. I personally hope this contributes to better alignment of safer gaming policies across the world.

What do you think are the main problems that many players face when playing online?

The biggest problem players face is, in my opinion, the lack of understanding of how the game works, the image of the game and deception on the part of the companies. How can one start gambling without knowing what is happening in the background of the slots or roulette spins and have fun within their limits? I often encounter players who think that new slot games will have a higher payout ratio because their authors want to make them popular, without any idea of ​​the RTP. It is impossible to approach your gambling habits reactively and take into account the risks of loss of control without sufficient information.

Unfortunately, the conscious attitude of players does not always solve the problem, as gambling companies are always strongly tempted to treat players unfairly and create misleading rules, leading to dissatisfaction or harm. Even though many operators understand that protecting and educating players leads to more sustainable revenue and less damage, there are still some who prey on vulnerable players and short-term gains.

How players and the public perceive the gaming industry influences the approach taken to problem gambling prevention and treatment. Seeking help due to gambling-related harm is often viewed negatively, so people would rather avoid it than be labeled as a problem gambler. Destigmatizing this issue is an important step towards a safer gaming industry.

To solve this problem, we launched Casino Guru Academy, a platform offering free training courses mainly aimed at online casino employees to improve their knowledge and player experience. Course topics range from customer support, through player verification and safer gaming, to successfully and efficiently handling player complaints.

Handling player complaints about online casinos is our specialty, as we operate the largest casino complaints resolution service on the Internet, where we help players who are mistreated by online casinos. Our experience gained in handling thousands of complaints is the main source of knowledge that we put into our courses. Naturally, we are not able to cover all aspects of the different topics, which is why for many of them we collaborate with other specialist organizations that help us bring even more value to the students of the Academy.


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