Online gambling and responsible gambling, a delicate balancing act

27 December 2022
Responsible gaming is a term often used in iGaming circles. For many license issuers, it forms a part of the stringent application process and ongoing compliance measures. For operators, it is something that can be a headache to enforce but is necessary for the running of a reputable and ethical business. But responsible gaming is more than just a buzzword; it is a necessity that is essential for the future of the sector and its growth.
Also known as safer gambling and responsible gambling, responsible gaming is a set of social responsibilities in the online gambling sector involving obligations from regulators, operators, vendors, and other service providers. The aim is to ensure the sector's integrity, the fairness of games, and the equitable treatment of players and all other stakeholders. It also requires that players are made aware of the risks gambling can bring and are provided with resources to help them if they feel they need them.
75 percent of respondents thought gambling was good for the economy.

75 percent of respondents thought gambling was good for the economy. (photo by Free SVG)

Last year, the American Gaming Association researched the public’s attitudes and ideas about the iGaming sector. It found that some 75% of respondents thought gambling was good for the economy, and 70% said operators were responsible in their approach. This is a significant victory for stakeholders as it witnesses an increase in confidence of more than 40% in the last four years.
However, in Europe, the situation is not quite so rosy. In the UK, negative attitudes are increasing, with almost 30% of the population seeking a total ban. Over 80% said there were too many opportunities to gamble, 73% said they thought it was dangerous for family life, and over 60% said it must be discouraged. Less than 30% of those surveyed said gambling is fair and can be trusted.
The U.K. is also looking at tightening gambling laws and introducing new restrictions, in a move that could risk being replicated elsewhere if traction continues.
In The Netherlands, people feel the government should do more to protect gamblers, while over 60% say companies don’t take problem gambling seriously. This is in line with the European average, where some 61% feel the same.
If you look at other European countries, you will find similar results. Overall, people enjoy gambling, but there is worry and concern it is not fair and companies are not interested in protecting, or even looking out for them.
So what is the solution?
The global online gambling sector was worth $57.5 billion in 2021 and is set to grow by 11.7% over the next few years. This will see it reach over 153 billion by the end of the decade, unprecedented growth in complex and challenging economic times. But with this growth comes responsibility.
In the face of growing concern over fair gambling, it is more important than ever that companies take steps to engage. If they do not, regulators will be forced to crack down, like is happening in the EU, and companies could find themselves restricted to the point profits take a hit. Furthermore, over-the-top restrictions could also see players losing interest as features like bonuses, incentives, and other fun aspects of gambling could become obsolete.
Simply put, responsible gaming is everyone’s business. With more than 2.9 billion people estimated to be involved in online gambling around the world, it is clear the sector is outpacing many others combined. With more product choices and operators on the market, as well as faster and cheaper internet, this number will grow. In 2022, online gambling will be enjoyed by a much larger segment of the market, including casinos, poker and card games, slots, lottery and bingo, esports, fantasy sports and social gaming. Other innovations like cryptocurrency, blockchain, AI, and VR are also further transforming the sector, almost beyond recognition. For that reason, it is important to follow all rules and regulations and industry best practices.
Yes, profit is important, but in this day and age, it cannot come at customers' expense. The market is so big now, and the target audience so vast that it is not necessary to bend the rules to make a profit. Being responsible and extending that responsibility to players is of paramount importance and will serve you well in the long run. Failure to do so will result in fines, penalties, action, and suspension or revocation of license.
But more than that, it can severely damage your reputation and prevent you from working in the sector again. Last but not least, if operators continually fail to abide by fair gaming policies, we will end up with an over-regulated sector that completely suffocates the freedom we need to grow.
Fast Offshore
We have worked in online gambling for 25 years. During that time we have witnessed massive changes in the sector as it transitions into a more digital and on-demand world. We have also stood beside some of the industry’s biggest names to help them launch and expand their operations in various jurisdictions. In addition to corporate support, we also help with compliance and all matters relating to licensing. If you are an iGaming entrepreneur, or have an established company looking for more assistance, Fast Offshore are here. Our team can provide you with the full A-Z service for your iGaming company, including help with your fair gaming obligations. Contact us today for more information.

Ron Mendelson

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based business and financial consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over two decades of experience in corporate services, iGaming, international business, finance, licensing and legal matters, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.