Martin Lycka, Senior Vice President of US Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling for the Entain Group, has been talking about the issue of safer gambling this week during the latest episode of SBC’s Double Espresso Podcast.
In his interview with Rasmus Sojmark, CEO of SBC, Lycka shared the view of fellow guests – Paul Buck of EPIC Risk Management and Kindred Group’s Liv Biesemans – that the industry was ‘on the right track,’ whilst also outlining his company’s approach to responsible gambling.
He argued: “The industry has already gone a long way – we are in a completely different position than we would have been even three or four years ago. And to my mind what’s crucial in that regard is the fact that our industry allows 98-99% of our customers that can and know how to gamble sensibly and responsibly to enjoy themselves, whilst catering for those who are not in that position.”
Addressing the issue of black market betting operators, Lycka further elaborated on the need for authorities and licensed companies to clamp down on the illicit market, arguing that this is a “logical commitment” and a “no brainer”.
The SVP added that operators should go further than the letter of the law and ensure their approach to responsible gaming is going beyond the individual compliance requirements in order to achieve self-regulation.
Buck, meanwhile, highlighted the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act in the UK and the overhaul of regulations in the Netherlands as evidence that the industry is addressing concerns relating to gambling harm.
Epic’s CEO stated that there is still more work to do, but (the industry) is definitely on the right track, adding that the sector’s long-term goal should be to generate ‘$0 or £0 from people who are suffering gambling problems.
His sentiment was shared by Biesemans. “I do think the industry has made important strides in recent years, not in the least in terms of having that mindset shift, which was extremely important,” she remarked. “And there’s now a clear understanding and awareness that consumer protection is the only way to achieve sustainability in our sector.”
Echoing Buck’s comments, Biesemans pointed to Kindred’s commitment to generating 0% of revenue from harmful related gambling, as well as a devotion to “creating long term sustainability by providing our customers with a safe and secure and most of all entertaining online experience”.
She added: “I think it’s really important to underline that 85% of our revenue comes from the no risk to low risk gamblers. So the majority of our customers do not have an issue with the service, and they can play online and they enjoy the product and the services that we offer.
“And to my mind what’s crucial in that regard is the fact that our industry allows 98-99% of our customers that can and know how to gamble sensibly and responsibly to enjoy themselves, whilst catering for those who are not in that position.”
Sharing his own opinions on the importance of responsibility initiatives in the betting and gaming industry, Sojmark stated: “To work for responsible entertainment, there needs to be a fundamental understanding of safer gambling problem gambling and player protection.
“We already consider ourselves an entertainment industry, like many other industries, but we cannot really use the word ‘responsible’ if we ignore the inherent problems that gambling is causing to some people.”