Problem gambling is an issue which affects multiple demographics, but a new initiative by EPIC Risk Management has focused on one specific group – military personnel.
In the latest episode of Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show, Brianne Dora-Schawohl, VP of US Policy and Strategic Development at EPIC Risk Management, spoke to the Entain responsible gaming chief about the group’s approach to service members.
Dora-Schawohl discussed the extensive exposure to gambling and associated harms to US military personnel, highlighting how the US Department of Defence (DoD) operates over 3,000 slot machines on armed forces bases across the world.
“The DoD is making hundreds of millions of dollars off of our men and women in uniform and their families,” the VP remarked.
“It’s really imperative to have an understanding that our men and women in uniform are more susceptible to dealing with or struggling with a gambling disorder, in fact it can be three times the rate of the general population.
“Not only are they more vulnerable, but we are bringing the product right to them, and they have no ability to seek treatment or have access to help, or even to know where to get help or find a helpline number of tips on how to gamble responsibly.”
Defining responsible gambling as ‘the coming of all stakeholders in the gambling world’ to create robust, evidence based policies with the long-term goal of protecting the vulnerable and developing a safe gambling market, Dora-Schawohl argued that the gambling industry should take a a macro-level approach, focused on protecting vulnerable populations, as well as groups such as military personnel.
In order to achieve this, she continued, the sector needs to enhance its use of technology as a means of communicating with customers, promoting positive play and discussing betting behavior such as spending patterns and time spent gaming.
“It’s amazing the more I’m learning about artificial intelligence and how we can understand player behavior through that.
“I think technology is our greatest asset in the RG world right now, and I don’t believe that we have incorporated it enough to our discussions in the policy phase or in daily operations. A lot of it has been used for innovations in gambling offerings and I’d like to see it move over the RG game.
“The end game needs to be to reduce the number of individuals that are currently struggling with a gambling disorder, and ensure that those numbers remain low. We know that we will never abolish gambling addiction or disorder, even prohibition wouldn’t do that, but there is a lot more that we can and should be doing to protect our customers.”