Clive Hawkswood of the Remote Gambling Association has insisted the gambling industry is on the right road with self-exclusion policy, and cited the complexity of the issue for those expecting a quick fix. This came in response to Wanda Goldwag, Chair and Independent Standards Commissioner of the Senet Group, claiming that we are a long way from establishing effective policy.
Self-exclusion is a well debated subject in the sports betting industry; if a person wants to refrain from gambling they can ask the operator, land based or online, to refuse to accept their custom. This isn’t a new principle, but it has been previously impossible to exclude yourself in one go from gambling in all casinos or with all licensed betting operators.
According to Clive Hawkswood, there are upwards of 180,000 online self-excluders in the UK, which highlights the need for a co-ordinated effort to improve the effectiveness of self-exclusion as a harm minimisation measure. In fact, by April 2016 all premises based licensed operators must have in place schemes that allow a customer to make a single request to self-exclude from all operators of a similar type within their area, typically where they work or live.
The Gambling Commission have also confirmed that they are working with remote industry representatives to develop a national multi-operator self-exclusion scheme by 2017. Such a scheme could cost up to £2 million, with ongoing running costs of £1 million per year to be funded in full by the industry.
This pro-active response from the industry should be applauded, but a panel of speakers at the World Regulatory Briefing Conference, ICE 2016, confirmed some fears over the future for self-exclusion:
Dirk Hansen is worried about the vast amount of bonuses and promotions available to potential problem gamblers, and doubts whether self-exclusion could ever shield these people from the huge marketing structure that drives all gambling.
Clive Hawkswood expressed concern that any new policy would still have holes, and that those wanting to gamble would still find a way to do so. Educating and providing a complete understanding of the subject should be of paramount importance.
Finally, all of the panellists acknowledged the fear that a national self-exclusion policy would give too much responsibility to the operator, taking away from the need for someone to tackle this issue with friends and family.
Full Session Panel:
- Clive Hawkswood (Remote Gambling Association, Director)
- Dirk Hansen (CEO, GamCare)
- Wanda Goldwag (The Senet Group, Chair and Independent Secretary)
- Clément Martin-Saint-Léon (ARJEL, Head of Markets, Consumption and Player Protection)