Too many people lose their lives from suicide and some of these are as a direct consequence of gambling. Thank you to Tim Poole of Gambling Insider, who kindly contacted me to discuss this most important issue.
On 27 May, the UK Gambling Commission issued a findings of an investigation into PT Entertainment Services (PTES), which uncovered systemic failures in player protection.
Most sadly, this investigation was prompted after the regulator was contacted by the family of a man who tragically took his own life in April 2017 aged 25.
Suicide, as I have written before, has far reaching consequences.
The statistics on those taking their own lives where directly or indirectly related to gambling are not known. The data is compounded by too many factors to be meaningful and data distracts from the issues at hand.
It again highlights the challenges faced by this industry in managing the two sides of customer risk:
The risks customers face to the operator, and
The risks customers face from the operator.
The management of risk is centric to the overall governance of an organisation. Combined, risk management and governance provide many outcomes, one of which is compliance.
All employees of all operators should read this regulatory outcome and the devastating story that sits behind it.
Please, let's learn."
Kindly, and in response to my comment, Tim contacted me and we had a wonderful conversation last week about this issue, how operators need to shift their culture of risk management and some examples of how this can be done.
The full interview will be published in the coming weeks.
Having worked within this industry, and many others, all at senior executive level, I try to take a wide view on the issues faced. As an an example, I said this to Tim in response to the question and selecting on this thing in the industry called 'Social Responsibility' and whether its an effective approach:
The tragic case of this customer prompted you to comment on our LinkedIn post sharing the story. Can you tell us more about how you view this side of the gambling industry?
"My personal opinion is that it [Social Responsibility] probably doesn’t; it doesn’t come at this issue from the right angle.
My view is the angle this should be coming from is absolutely from a risk management perspective. This isn’t about carrying out social responsibilities; this is fundamentally an ethical, moral and risk management-orientated issue.
Organisations across different industries have to consider not only the risks their customers pose to them – AML (anti money laundering), CFT (combating the financing of terrorism) – there is a stack of risks that go back in the other direction.
This is why I don’t like, and I don’t mean to discredit it, the aspect of ‘we’re acting socially responsibly;’ the real question is are you mitigating the risk you pose to your customers? Drill into that question and then come up with some clear, evidence-based data, decision-making and actions that demonstrate that mitigation."
If we are to effect cultural change in this industry,
If we are to truly engage with this thing called 'Social Responsibility',
If we are to move towards a better and fairer balance between operator and player, and
If we are to bring the current reputational demise of the industry back from the depths,
Then operators need to work much harder at managing the risks in both directions, but most notably the risks that they pose to their customers.
More on this to come as my interview with Tim is published.
Thank you for reading this post, it is close to my heart.