What does responsible gambling mean?
How and why is Europebet changing up the rules of their games? A European version of gambling for the Georgian market
Lately, whenever we talk about gambling, we often hear the term “responsible gambling”.
What does “responsible gambling” mean? And why has it become the hottest trend for top European companies?
How effective is the involvement of the gambling industry itself in the fight against gambling addiction and what kind of advertisements should a responsible gambling company have?
We will answer these questions with Europebet, the first and so far only company to adopt “responsible gambling” rules in Georgia.
What does “responsible gambling” mean?
Responsible gambling is a recently widespread modern idea in the European gambling industry which establishes specific rules, high standards and self-regulation with a focus on customer safety for the gambling business,
The purpose of a responsible gambling policy is to protect customers from the potential negative effects of gambling.
Any gambling company that adopts a policy of responsible gambling is sending a message to its clients and prospective customers that gambling is a way to have fun and spend a good time and is under no circumstances to be considered a source of income.
People who gamble should only spend as much as they can without affecting their quality of life and which will not cause serious problems for them or their family. The amount should be part of their entertainment budget.
For what reason do companies themselves need to implement responsible gambling?
The ultimate source of the rules of responsible gambling is the industry leaders, whose names and reputations are on the line. As such, they are not satisfied to simply abide by the regulations that the government has set out.
Such companies engage in social initiatives themselves, such as actively fighting against gambling addiction and helping to rehabilitate gambling addicts into society. They sponsor sporting events and healthy living and take part in the creation of sporting infrastructure. They also try to preemptively assist at-risk gamblers and take active steps to prevent minors from gambling. They have ethical, responsible, and non-aggressive marketing.
All leading gambling companies in Europe follow these principles, because if they ignore their social responsibilities, it has an immediate effect on the company’s reputation.
The leading company in this respect in Georgia is Europebet, which has planned to implement responsible gambling since the end of 2019 and has been carrying out specific projects designed to accomplish that for more than half a year.
The company, which is the representative of the international brand Betsson Group in Georgia, states that they have introduced new rules to the Georgian gambling industry.
The company has announced that one of the main areas they will be focusing on in 2020 will be social responsibility and they will spend 2 million lari to that end.
Responsibility in business, responsibility in communication and responsibility to society
These are the three things that the company is working on, and they have already published a report on them for the first 6 months of 2020.
As part of the responsible gambling campaign, the website responsible.ge has been set up, where all the technology and methods that customers can take advantage of have been described in detail.
Outside advertisements have gone, internet advertising has been curtailed
Since the end of 2019, Europebet has developed a new outlook and completely changed their advertising policy.
Since December there have no longer been Europebet advertising billboards on the streets.
And since the beginning of 2020, as part of the company’s self-regulation policy, age restrictions on internet advertisements have been put in place. Europebet has stopped all advertising to minors.
Soon other gambling companies followed their lead. Since March of 2020, all outside advertising for gambling companies has been removed.
Lasha Gogua, Europebet’s marketing director, explains that by removing all their outside advertising, the company has refused to reach a rather significant audience.
“However, we have chosen to take a responsible approach, which means that we gracefully concede to exactly those sorts of setbacks,” he added.
The company says that the money that Europebet saves on outside advertising will be used to develop sporting and healthy living.
Europebet is affiliated with the Swedish company Betsson Group in Georgia, and therefore their principles are also Swedish: non-aggressive marketing, and no advertising at all on certain platforms.
“Europebet has already fully implemented this facet of responsible gaming in Georgia,” says the commercial director of Betsson Group, Ronni Hartvig.
He says that the Swedish company works in ten different countries, so they have to adapt to ten different markets and cultures.
“However, responsible gambling applies in all countries, as it is very important for this company’s reputation,” says Hartvig.
“Are you sure that you wish to continue playing?”
In February, Europebet’s customers encountered something new on the website.
Two hours after starting to play, a pop-up would appear on the player’s screen, asking “Are you sure that you wish to continue playing?”
In addition, the banner would display an analysis of what had happened in those two hours – how much the player had won or lost. This display of time and winnings or losings would remind the player that he or she had already been playing for quite some time and request that they consider whether they really wanted to continue playing.
The smart algorithm, which is called “time control”, would once again remind the person sitting in front of the screen that main point of gambling is to “play for fun”.
Help for gambling addicts
Kamara was the first rehabilitation centre to become a partner in Europebet’s responsible gambling campaign.
As part of their partnership with Europebet, Kamara gives comprehensive psychotherapy for those afflicted with gambling addiction. Europebet pays for these courses.
“We take the approach with our patients of using special methods for dealing with psychological illnesses which was developed by the American professor and famed psychiatrist, Annatina Miescher. Kamara has worked with this method for ten years and it is perfectly adapted to the reality of Georgian society,” stated the psychologist Natia Panjikidze, director of Kamara, who has enthusiastically welcomed Europebet’s campaign.
In the first six months of 2020, 5,760 hours of psychotherapy were given. To give an example of its popularity, in only two days more than 40 people had registered for the course.
In July, another psychiatric rehabilitation centre, Mental Hub, opened with financing from the responsible gambling campaign. This centre’s primary patients are also gambling addicts.
Moreover, Europebet is also financing free psychological assistance for medical personnel who work with patients diagnosed with COVID-19, and who have already spent months in such difficult and stressful work environments.
Support for sport and healthy living
In the first quarter of 2020, Responsible.ge put out a memo referencing federations for strongmen, competitive backgammon, mixed martial arts and chess. These sports are those which are in most need of financial support.
As a result, for instance, the chess federation organized more than 20 tournaments. The federation’s employees’ salaries were increased by 15 percent and so was the prize pool.
The backgammon federation finally moved their tournaments online, something which had been impossible before due to lack of funds.
The strongman federation was able to send 17 men to an international tournament in Kyiv, from which they returned with three gold and two silver medals.
The mixed martial arts federation trained the Georgian athlete, Vazha Tsiptauri, with assistance from Europebet. Tsiptauri will soon take part in international competitions, where experts expect him to achieve significant success.
Besides sports, Responsible.ge has put a large emphasis on supporting people with special needs.
Business support programme
Dealing with COVID-19 has been a serious challenge for many Georgian business, especially small companies with few resources.
Europebet has helped up to 30 businesses with online advertising.
The company offered free advertising on the online advertising space, POP media, to interested businesses. Those businesses which took part in this project had their advertisements seen by their customers a million times within the span of one month.
Europebet has spent more than 2 million lari on social responsibility projects in 2020.
The company states that the responsible gambling campaign has just begun, and will continue on an even wider scale in the future.