The 7th edition of the Sustainable Gambling Conference, which took place on 19 October 2022, gathering participants from inside and outside the gambling industry, from operators to civil society actors and treatment centres to media and researchers. This year’s theme was “Safer gambling: An honest conversation”.
Highlights from a day filled with inspiration, new perspectives, and ideas on the route ahead
From the stage at Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, the conference took a holistic approach to sustainability questions for the industry. This year, mixing both formats and perspectives combined Livestream with table discussions on site. The opening panel took off in a conversation between leading operators focusing on how collaboration and finding joint solutions across and beyond the industry is the way forward to take responsibility and promote transparency. The tone was set - an honest conversation starts with operators addressing problems and finding solutions.
Two keynote speakers shared their perspectives. First, the General Secretary of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Maarten Haijer, presented ways to create a strong culture of safer gambling in Europe. Then, Johann Hari, writer and journalist, joined the conference to talk about the causes of addiction and how industry and actors outside the industry can find ways to contribute to positive change for the individual.
The conference then continued the day in two tracks. The first track, “Responsible gambling research and technology”, spanned from research insights on gambling addiction and prevention to digital tools that support self-exclusion. One focus point was youths, and the project “Spill for livet” (Gambling for life) shared a preview of their educational film on harmful gambling will be shared in schools in Denmark. The second track covered “Partnering for change”, which covered themes of sustainable sponsorship, social inclusion through sports and equality and diversity in sports and sports. Finally, kindred’s Director of Security, Brendan Dowell, shared the fundamentals for cyber resilience, where collaboration and knowledge sharing are critical.
After a networking lunch, the participants had the opportunity to discuss the theme “Single-customer view – what’s your view? Insights from the over two hundred and fifty participants included the importance of well-balanced regulation and the power education holds in driving more sustainable habits. A second panel followed, covering sports integrity. A key takeaway from those table discussions was that the industry, through dialogue, can take on educational roles to combat match-fixing, showcasing examples from the Netherlands and Sweden.
As the day came to a close, the panel “Using lived experience to inform responsible gambling practices” took place. The panel consisted of addiction, harm prevention and recovery experts, again highlighting the need for close collaboration between research and operators to understand how to best combat harmful gambling behaviours.
The day closed like as it began, with a panel of CEOs from leading operators that shared reflections about the day. Henrik Tjärnström, Kindred Group CEO, stressed that the industry needs to create conditions that enable people worldwide to enjoy gambling as entertainment. He concluded that by involving industry, research, and civil society, on how we create the conditions – and have an honest conversation.
Utilising the opportunities for connection and discussion that comes with meeting in person, this year’s conference combined knowledge-sharing and interaction on several levels. Here are some of the main takeaways:
- Taking responsibility means seeking out the conversation
An honest conversation starts with operators addressing problems and finding solutions. Operators, regulators, and affiliates must beware of their impact and align with each other to develop coherent practices and policies. Transparency is essential for collaboration among operators or between the industry and other prioritised stakeholders such as affiliates or regulators.
- Collaboration and finding joint solutions are the ways forward.
Partnerships and connections inside and outside the industry are crucial. A key factor for driving change is successfully combining research, technological solutions, and stakeholder dialogue to find best practices. That also includes responsible use of data that ensures privacy. Working to improve the industry’s reputation by showing real results is integral to combating misconceptions and promoting more constructive dialogue.
- Reducing harmful gambling is the long-term solution to enabling everyday entertainment that contributes positively to society.
Building trust for gambling as a source of entertainment that contributes positively to society means addressing the issues. Participants and panellists found that the industry’s profitability, even its existence, is contingent on becoming sustainable.
The journey continues
For each year since the establishment of the Sustainable Gambling Conference seven years ago, the conversation broadens and deepens. We were glad to combine in-person and digital streaming of the SGC 2022 to continue in the spirit of collaboration and inquisitive discussions. We are determined to continue the work to drive action and tangible results.