Kindred's first local Sustainable Gambling Conference (SGC), took place on th 18th November at Kindred's Stockholm office, was a great success, giving an up-close perspective on some of the most important questions the industry is facing. More than 50 participants discussed how more collaboration between operators and other stakeholders could help curb and prevent harmful gambling. The conference also included a presentation of a study on the gambling habits of elite football players by Karolinska Institutet and the launch of a joint initiative to reduce harmful gambling between the Swedish Professional Football Leagues (SEF) and the treatment centre Spelfriheten.
New Study Presented by Karolinska Institutet
The conference kicked off with a new study on gambling patterns among professional football players, presented by researchers Tobias Elgán, PhD, and Pia Kvillemo, MD, from Karolinska Institutet. The study, commissioned by SEF, shows, as expected, higher levels of gambling among football players than among the general population. Furthermore, the findings indicate that knowledge-sharing, clear policies, and well-directed resources are key to curbing harmful gambling. These insights will guide SEF's efforts in addressing harmful gambling in the football community.
Panel discussion on stakeholder collaboration
Next on the agenda was a panel discussion on stakeholder collaboration between media, sports, and gambling industry representatives. Malin Häger, New Sales Director at TV4 Group, Sweden's largest private TV broadcaster, described their ad vetting process and urged the gambling industry to step up and take more responsibility. Next, Anneli Berger Ekman, Manager of Responsible Gambling Counselling at Svenska Spel, described their customer care model and steps to reduce player risk. Finally, Anders Wikström, League Integrity Officer at SEF, outlined their actions to address harmful gambling, highlighting the collaboration with Unibet as a way to develop tools and education material that makes a difference.
A well-argued and lively political debate
After a coffee break, we proceeded to a, at times, heated, political debate on gambling and marketing restrictions. The debate included gambling and sports policy spokespersons for the three largest political parties in the Swedish parliament: Azadeh Rojhan, MP for the Social Democrats, Angelika Bengtsson, MP for the Sweden Democrats, and Kristina Axén Olin, MP for the Moderate Party. While marketing restrictions and whether to proceed with stricter legislation became a hot-button issue, all participants saw that moderate advertising and self-regulation are necessary. Otherwise, more interventions await. There was also a common view on the need to increase channelisation and have a better system for monitoring and limiting access to credit.
New partnership to prevent harmful gambling
The conference finished with the launch of a new partnership between SEF and Spelfriheten, a Swedish treatment centre, that aims to prevent harmful gambling among football players. The collaboration has a long-term perspective and includes educational and practical components to help football players get immediate and effective help should they need it. This partnership is exactly the kind of stakeholder collaboration we at Kindred see a lot of promise in. We effectively address and prevent harmful gambling by bringing complementary skills together towards a common goal.
More local adaptations to come…
The turnout, the positive response from participants, and the insightful discussions speak for themselves: a local version of Kindred's SGC concept provides an up-close perspective on important matters. Moreover, it entails additional benefits for discussing propelling a safe and sustainable gambling market. It's safe to say we will be back with more local SGCs.