The World Lottery Association (WLA) has recently developed an ambitious set of responsible gaming principles as part of a new proactive approach to promote social responsibility among its members. The proposed seven principles were met with overwhelming enthusiasm during the meeting of the WLA General Assembly earlier this year.
In pledging their support for the principles, WLA members commit to making responsible gaming an integral part of their daily operations, including activities involving employees, patrons, retailers and others. A component of the principles also calls for the advancement of research initiatives and an ongoing effort to achieve a balance between revenue, entertainment and customer expectations.
The principles call for the development of responsible gaming programs that protect the interests of customers and vulnerable groups; ensure practices and procedures reflect a combination of government regulations, operator self-regulation and individual responsibility; and take into account all available relevant research.
The guidelines also call for WLA members to collaborate with other critical stakeholders in the issue - including governments, regulators, treatment providers, researchers, community groups and individual players - in order to ensure success of the efforts. According to the principles, these parties will collaborate for purposes of information sharing, research development, the promotion of responsible gaming and an overall effort to improve the general understanding of the social impact of gaming.
The principles also include a commitment by each lottery to monitor, test and revise its responsible gaming activities on a regular basis, and to publicize these findings. "We have a responsibility to be self-monitoring and determine where consumers might be at risk. We have a responsibility to deliver our products in a safe, entertaining fashion, and the industry is embracing and moving forward with this commitment," said Mike Randall, vice president of communications and corporate social responsibility at Atlantic Lottery Corporation, a key member of WLA.
The WLA enlisted the support of outside consultants from various business sectors to aid in the development of the directives, including the textile, forestry and pharmaceutical industries. "Lotteries are no
different than any other businesses," Randall said. "Today's customers demand social responsibility in companies they want to buy products from."
According to the WLA, the principles are not meant to interfere with existing regulatory requirements or corporate activities related to responsible gaming, but rather to compliment relevant policies and activities in each jurisdiction. Randall noted that many inherent challenges exist in designing principles to effectively accommodate the variety of cultures represented among the WLA's international membership, which consists of lotteries from 74 countries. To address cultural sensitivities while still encouraging compliance, Randall notes that the principles are purposefully broad in scope and will co-exist with a diverse range of current member regulations.
WLA members will discuss the principles in Paris during the European Lottery Association (ELA) social responsibility seminar in early October, and the WLA plans to formally vote to approve the responsible gaming principles at its annual convention in Singapore this November.
The WLA, with offices in both Switzerland and Montreal, represents 136 lotteries from 74 countries with combined revenues of $120 billion. The WLA also represents 64 lottery industry suppliers as Associate Members. For more information on the WLA and to view the WLA Responsible Gaming Principles visit www.world-lotteries.org.