The American Gaming Association’s (AGA) latest body of research, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Gaming Industry clearly shows that its members are some way ahead of the curve on the subject. However, as the CSR landscape continues to evolve and shape-shift companies in all industries, said the AGA, need to address new challenges and expectations from stakeholders to continue strong CSR engagement.

The report stated: “To continue to be a leader in and take advantage of these changes in CSR across the private sector, gaming industry members are modifying the way they develop and manage their CSR initiatives. The most common forward-looking change that AGA member respondents report is that they will be increasingly proactive in tracking, reporting, and mapping their CSR programs.”

It continued: “The gaming companies with well-established CSR initiatives are already highly engaged in this work, but there are growing opportunities for all companies to conduct this type of evaluation. The drive to improve evaluation and measurement is leading the gaming industry’s CSR efforts to embrace opportunities in technology—like big data and artificial intelligence—to assist in these types of evaluations.”

Better data and reporting, the study advised, will provide needed information to quantify and convey the business value of CSR to key stakeholders. Alternatively, it suggested, while essentially all respondents forecast the growing importance of mapping, tracking, and reporting, there is also significant talk on how these same CSR strategies need to be flexible to address new issues to companies and their communities.

When asked about what groups of external stakeholders are important to the future of CSR at their companies, AGA member respondents suggest two key groups hold significant sway in how they will continue to address their community engagement moving forward: customers and nonprofit partners.

The changing demands of consumers and their expectations are primarily what companies discussed. Among millennials especially, CSR, community engagement, and brand reputation are paramount drivers to both work for and patronize a business.

The report warned though that caring about causes “…cannot start and stop with a company making an announcement, writing a check, and reaping benefits to their brand”. It noted: “Authenticity is important, and lackluster CSR initiatives that do not have the support of the corporate mission may not offer any positive externalities for the company engaging in them. This need to be ‘authentic’ is well understood by the gaming industry, but respondents have different ideas on how to maintain or grow that authenticity.”

Delegates attending the forthcoming Betting on Sports America conference (April 23 to 25) will get to hear in detail some of the burning issues around corporate social responsibility during a special  panel which poses the question: Tackling problem gambling – what is effective?