Over the past few years the Internet has become a widely used business and entertainment tool, and with change comes the need for gaming sites to develop responsible gaming programs for their customers.
Land-based gaming companies have long recognized that they need to do this. After all, it's poor advertising when customers' commit rash acts after losing money to the casino. Virtual casinos are slowly catching on and new options are steadily becoming available.
The North American Training Institute (NATI), which has worked extensively in helping land-based gaming companies by developing responsible gaming programs, has just launched a similar program for cyber casinos. The NATI designed its "Web-Based Responsible Gaming Solutions" so that online
operators can incorporate the institute's responsible gaming programs into their websites.
Clients put a link on their websites that their customers can follow for information about problem gambling. The link takes gamblers to a responsible gaming site that includes a problem gambling self-assessment tool and a searchable database of problem gambling resources.
As part of the NATI's service, the comprehensive and international website can be customized to include the gaming sites' logos, a responsible gaming mission statement and other pertinent information. For sites wanting to add even more emphasis to their responsible gaming efforts, a special message can also be included from the company's chief executive.
The self-assessment questionnaire and other information are available in 120 languages.
Sites that offer responsible gaming services, said NATI Executive Director Elizabeth George, are "good corporate citizens."
"These programs make a company look good," George added, "and regulators like them too."
Programs like this can also serve as public relations tools. Or, as the NATI literature so aptly explains, providing responsible gaming services is "combining the right thing to do for the community with the smart thing to do for your business."
The "Web-Based Responsible Gaming Solutions" product typically runs US$1,500 to set up, with another US$1,000 per page. Most sites have four to six pages in the responsible gaming section. More information is available at www.nati.org.