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Reports on Responsible Gambling

By: Shirley Spicer, Tuesday February 8th 2011
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Responsible gambling is one of the most discussed issues in online gambling today. Legislators are using it as a shield to defer the liberalization of online gambling in their jurisdictions. Representatives of the industry claim that responsible gambling issues are being taken care of by them. In fact the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has released a report on new self-regulatory measures that will become the industry standard in the future. EGBA is a trade organization representing major European online gambling operators.

The measures covered by the report are currently awaiting publication by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). As mentioned in the report, John Ketchell, Innovation Director at CEN, states that the responsible online gambling measures being considered by CEN will provide a high level of consumer protection and ensure that online gambling operators behave responsibly. The practices are aimed at the protection of vulnerable consumers, prevention of underage gambling, protection of customer privacy, commitment to ethical and responsible marketing, catering to customer satisfaction and support, providing safe and secure IT environments and zero tolerance of fraudulent and criminal behavior.

Creating new industry standards is a time consuming process. The "Responsible Remote Gambling Measures" initiative of CEN started in May 2010 with 25 registered participating entities. Over 600 suggestions were made by the participants and, based on these and other existing documents on responsible gambling, a draft was drawn up. The document was made public by CEN and comments were invited between July and September 2010. The CEN participants have now approved the final document, and it is expected to be published later this month. Ketchell however cautions, "This may only be a first step, in the sense that the CEN community will be ready to consider additional activities when the stakeholders are ready and willing, for example to work towards the creation of a full European Standard in due time."

In the United Kingdom the third British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) is expected to be released soon. This is a statistical study on British online gambling behavior, which includes the incidence of problem gambling in the country, and collates a wide range of gambling related data to assist in policy making. The first two reports were published in 2000 and 2007. The survey was conducted by the National Centre for Social Research, under the supervision of gambling experts Dr Rachel Volberg, Professor Mark Griffiths and Professor Jim Orford. The fieldwork was completed in the summer of 2010 on a sample of over 7,500 respondents. The report will be published on Tuesday February 15, 2011. The report will include the prevalence of participation in all forms of gambling, estimate the prevalence of problem gambling and investigate factors that motivate people to gamble.

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