Jaime Debono: Training is the building block to successful RG practice in the US

iGaming Academy’s Jaime Debono explains why training is an essential element if operators are to successfully implement responsible gaming efforts in the US.
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iGaming Academy’s Managing Director, Jaime Debono, explains why training is an essential element if operators are to successfully implement responsible gaming efforts in the US. 

It is something of a cliché – but true nonetheless – that state-by-state regulation of sports betting and igaming is producing a patchwork of regulation. 

Every state has its own requirements and while there is a degree of uniformity across all of the states which have legislated so far, we estimate that around 20% of the regulations differ in important respects.

This has implications when it comes to rules and regulations around responsible gaming or RG. It is something we have seen before; in Europe, there are marked differences between how, for instance, Germany looks at the tissue of RG versus how it is tackled in Sweden or the UK.

Obviously, the lack of a consistent approach poses a challenge for compliance teams. It means, inevitably, more paperwork and a greater level of attention to detail. 

But what about the wider organization? As we all know, the tentacles of responsible gambling stretch far and wide within any gaming business. From the C-suite to the marketing team, from operations and trading to customer support, the need for a company to follow best practices in RG across every state in which they operate is vital.

Regulators will have expectations around how customers are messaged, what language is used in the marketing, how the customer support teams deal with inbound requests, and how they identify issues.

It means that there will be many, many people within every betting and gaming business who will need to know what rules apply where and in which circumstances.

The scale-up issue

This is all occurring as these businesses are growing at a pace. During DraftKings’ most recent earnings call, CEO Jason Robins spoke about the company having had to “staff up” on the product and technology side and I’m sure this hiring spree has been taking place across the rest of the business.

These new hires won’t all be coming from other betting and gaming businesses. In fact, it is far more likely they will be coming to sports-betting and igaming anew from other areas of ecommerce.

To make matters even more complicated, the rise of sports betting in the US is also coinciding with a labor crunch. The ‘great resignation’, as it has been called, affects all areas of the economy and means that workers are even more mobile than they were before.

New hires, from whichever sector they were in before, need to get up to speed with how state-by-state regulations affect their day-to-day jobs. Moreover, logistically, these new hires are likely to access the whole business in various states.

This is where eLearning can help. It can help operators fill the knowledge gap with their existing staff while also upskilling new joiners in this vital area for the US sector.

And it helps explain why we have teamed up with the University of Las Vegas in order to produce a suite of courses, including one on RG.

Why this is so important

We know that RG is a hot button issue, and not just within the industry. Responsible gaming, and companies being seen to be good corporate citizens, is a hot political subject.

The politicians that have been pushing for sports betting and to a lesser extent igaming certainly know the importance of not being embarrassed by the sector’s response to getting licensed in any given state.

Problem gambling is something that can rebound on any politician that has been pushing for expanded gambling. Getting it wrong on RG has a ripple effect and can lead to individuals having issues further down the line, whether that is financial or otherwise.

In this sense, ensuring your staff are well-versed in the issues around RG and ensuring a company’s processes are up to scratch is a matter of insurance. 

The courses we provide have been road-tested with thousands of participants already having taken part. We provide thorough tracking for clients to see how their employees have performed and where their weaknesses might lay.

It’s the level of insight that can ensure your processes are robust and that the employees are equipped to deal with the real-life situations that occur during their day-to-day duties.

What we can be sure of is that how the sector performs in terms of RG will be one of the central pillars for its future prospects. We hope to play our part in ensuring that the foundations are laid correctly.