SBC News Emma Clayton-Wright: Gambling recognises distinct benefits of responsible jobs

Emma Clayton-Wright: Gambling recognises distinct benefits of responsible jobs

SBC News Emma Clayton-Wright: Gambling recognises distinct benefits of responsible jobs
Emma Clayton-Wright

Meeting new regulatory demands and conduct duties,  gambling continues to adjust to new principles of recruitment as leadership places a deeper focus and remit on responsible gambling roles. HR expert Emma Clayton-Wright, Managing Director of EyeSpy Recruitment, details the distinct value of responsible gambling roles growing in authority to benefit gambling’s day-to-day operations. 

SBC: Is responsible gambling now a standalone discipline at most gambling organisations? If so, when did this happen, and what drove this vital change?

Emma Clayton-Wright (MD @ Eye Spy Recruitment): Yes absolutely. Responsible gaming teams now sit beside customer service, fraud and risk and AML departments in most organisational charts we come into contact with.

As a recruitment agency, this customer operations area has become commonplace across operators in the last three to four years. Having been working in the industry for the past 18 years, I have seen the evolution of customer operations and in that time, the change has been dramatic. Compliance and a focus on safer gambling were formerly seen as the enemy of the business and a barrier to achieving commercial goals. Now, operators are investing in centres of excellence, and we see a genuine passion and desire to have the customer’s well-being at the forefront of contact strategies.

SBC: What do responsible gambling roles tend to cover?

ECW: Essentially, the role of the safer gambling team is to identify customers who may be at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm, act in a way that is proportionate to mitigate that risk, and then evaluate the effectiveness of their action. This is often needed as part of an operator’s licensing requirements. In short, the team is the first line of defence for the most vulnerable customers.

SBC: What qualities do companies look for in responsible gambling candidates?

ECW:  Candidates with exceptional communication skills can make sound, well-reasoned judgements when making decisions. It is also an environment in which they need to be resilient and adaptable to change as the responsible gambling landscape is constantly changing. Being on the front line of customer service can be challenging and you need to be able to influence and communicate effectively with numerous stakeholders across all levels.

I also think employers are attracted to candidates who are switched on and demonstrate the ability to identify opportunities to improve processes and/or services. It’s not just a turn-up and show-up role, this is also a career choice and an area of the business where individuals can develop and climb the career ladder relatively rapidly.

SBC: Is the calibre of candidates currently available high?

ECW: Yes, I would say that it is very high. We recently helped a well-funded start-up in Gibraltar build out an entire customer operation vertical, including a Head of Safer Gambling, multiple Team Leaders facing numerous territories and their respective teams of agents. It was a really fun and rewarding project to be part of and our client was very happy with the calibre of candidates we were forwarding for interview and ultimately placed in jobs.

The candidates are frequently very well educated, often bi-lingual and have great value to bring to a company. We find the talent pools across major gambling jurisdictions to be very good. If the brand is exciting, the culture positive and senior management is investing in safe gaming, we can attract very strong candidates into the interview process.

SBC: Can you share an example of a candidate that you have placed that has gone on to thrive? What made this person excel to such an extent?

ECW: There is one candidate that we placed who has really stayed with me. He was a remarkable individual who had been a gambling addict. At his lowest point, he found himself homeless and at rock bottom. He rebuilt his life and now works in safer gambling for an operator.

He understands the habits and the mindset of the gambler and is truly passionate about being a mental health advocate in the business. It was clear to me he really loved his job. We helped him step into a new team lead role with a client in a safer gambling environment and I am confident he will do very well. The feedback from hiring managers has been great so far!

SBC: What do operators and suppliers need to look for when identifying the right responsible gambling candidate for them?

ECW: Make sure the cultural values align first and foremost. Find candidates who share the company’s desire to build a centre of excellence when it comes to customer contact and a safer gambling environment for their players. Soft skills are incredibly important in this role. Agents in the team will have to manage extremely challenging conversations that will require diplomacy, empathy and patience.