The American Gaming Association (AGA) has convened leading gaming industry organisations, academic professionals and advocacy groups to chart a new course on the complex issue of responsible gaming. The result is the Responsible Gaming Collaborative which will identify the programs and policies that best address responsible gaming and the prevention of problem gambling. It will also hold government accountable for supporting proven, effective solutions.

Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, explained: “It’s time to comprehensively review existing responsible gaming policies and regulations. We must drive a new discussion around proven, effective programs and ensure that governments are appropriately allocating resources.”

In addition to the AGA, key Responsible Gaming Collaborative participants include the National Council on Problem Gambling; the National Centre for Responsible Gaming; the University of Nevada Las Vegas International Gaming Institute; Harvard University’s TH Chan Public School of Health; Yale School of Medicine; the National Indian Gaming Association; the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers; the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries; and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

“This Collaborative with its diverse set of stakeholders is a welcome step forward to creating a unified approach to addressing problem gambling,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

In the coming months, the Collaborative will conduct a comprehensive review of current responsible gaming policies and regulations; identify programmes that work and those that fail to meet their objective; study regulations to determine which are based on solid evidence; and determine whether government resources are being properly targeted toward effective programs and prevention.

Furthermore, it will develop a set of recommendations and industry best practices, while working with regulators and other stakeholders to understand the best approaches. “The word ‘Collaborative’ was chosen deliberately,” concluded Freeman. “Our goal is to work with regulators, policymakers, experts, advocates and other stakeholders to find the best solutions and direct resources to them.”

SBC Americas analysis: With rewards (eg a regulated betting market) come responsibilities. Hence the blossoming relationship between gambling sectors the world over and the concept of corporate social responsibility. The key to a happy relationship, however, is ensuring that responsible gambling programmes are not overly dominated by all things academic. The gambling business is littered with well-intended research that is often worth less than the paper it’s printed on, while problem gamblers struggle to get the funding for treatment they so badly need.