SMP Snack: Responsible gambling – Should affiliates be protecting players?

In week three of the SMP Snack series, Jenny Hedges returns to discuss whether affiliates have a duty to adopt a range of measures to promote responsible gambling.

Jenny Hegdes, Regulatory Compliance Manager, SMP eGaming

Put simply, yes! All parties involved in this industry have a responsibility to protect problem gamblers.

Yes, responsible gambling is part of an operators’ strategy and the regulatory burden falls firmly on them. However, as we have stressed before, operators no longer expect to shoulder it alone, so there is a long-term commercial incentive for affiliates to share the heavy lifting.

So that’s the principle, but how do you apply it? Well, affiliates can help in more ways than they may first realise: with prevention, identification, education, and treatment.

Prevention comes down to your promotional methods, particularly with regards to ensuring you aren’t appealing to people who are underage. We’ll be tackling advertising compliance in greater detail in a future addition to this series, but the core principles are to ensure your policy aligns with that of your operators, that you are properly monitoring your own compliance, and that you can evidence all of this back to the operator.

Identification is hugely important when it comes to addictive behaviour, particularly so for problem gambling because it can be ‘invisible’ to the sufferer’s personal network. Because of their regular interaction with players, affiliates are often in a position to spot these vulnerable people. Educating staff on what to look for is the best starting point, then see if there are any ways the data you generate can help spot problem behaviours.

Providing educational resources to players can also help with self-identification. This can be achieved through offering responsible gambling tools on your sites or blogs or encouraging discussion in forums. Even something as simple as compiling and posting a questionnaire on your site can promote responsible gambling and encourage introspection by players. By seeing someone struggling through that interaction, staff could step in and provide advice or point people towards help, including services such as GamStop.

Finally, provide information on treatment options. We work closely with an affiliated partner of GamCare UK, which provides free, non-judgemental and confidential help and support for anyone worried about their own or someone else’s gambling, and we would encourage affiliates to consider getting involved too. It shows operators and the public they are serious about their place in the industry.

For all the above, it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel, which is why we encourage (and have been working to support) affiliates to consider rolling out responsible gambling efforts that mirror what operators are already doing to meet regulatory standards.

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