Gambling is one of the best regulated industries, perfectly legal, among the largest payers of wages, taxes and duties, with a 99% compliance rate and providing over 45,000 jobs. It is a mature industry, constantly self-regulating and responsible, both in terms of business and its role in society.
How much is known about the industry? Too little or not at all. Gambling is often discussed in terms of perceptions. Although companies in the industry are among the most transparent economic players, the general reporting by society, the media, stakeholders, ignores this and becomes purely emotional.
When entering the gaming room, the player knows that they are paying for the experience. It is an exchange that has always existed. There is no difference between entering an arcade for the purpose of having fun for a fee and the fairground customs of the past, where you paid to shoot a bow and if you hit the target you got a prize. The win is hypothetical, it’s a bonus that may or may not benefit the player who wants to relax.
For the most part, players know how it works and are aware of the purpose for which they come to play. This is proven by a research study carried out last year by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES), commissioned by the Association of Slots Organizers – Romslot, the Association of Gambling Organizers – Rombet and the Patronage of Betting Organizers in Romania – Romanian Bookmakers.
According to the survey, most Romanians (61%) who have gambled at least once consider the gambling industry a source of entertainment. The document also shows that, in the hypothetical case of having 5,000 lei at their disposal, almost 80% of Romanians would prefer to save this amount for a rainy day. Only 2% of Romanians would prefer to gamble. Basically, the Romanian gambler knows very clearly the role of gambling in society. That is why regulations targeting the industry should start from these realities.
“When reason is contradicted, a state of mind can be a danger”
To talk about the gambling industry only from an emotional perspective and only in terms of the experience of a certain category of participants in that experience is to decide blindly. To know, but not to understand. Therefore, the industry’s responsibility is to make itself understood, to communicate who it is, what its purpose is and what its role is in a society.
Advertising, distancing from educational establishments are issues that can be addressed and regulated for the benefit of the consumer, but only if you bring all parties to the table. A total ban on advertising, a distancing from educational establishments that cannot be supported by the industry, is an extreme decision, not a solution to a problem. It means constraints, which companies will bear and players will feel.
There are already very clear regulations (18 +), students are not allowed in arcades. The solution is not to look at the industry as a temptation, but to teach teenagers about financial responsibility.
ROMSLOT – The Slot Organisers Association campaigns for financial education and economic responsibility. If we want to change something in society, this is where we have to start.
We are not a problem, we are part of the solution
When we look beyond the excitement, we can see that the gambling industry is one of the biggest sponsors of sports. We invest in sport, but we also invest in culture. 4% of the money collected to the state budget from gambling operators is directed annually to the Film Fund to encourage and support the film industry. In addition, as of this year, gambling companies must pay a contribution of 0.5% of their revenues to the National Cultural Fund. And if it’s hard for decision-makers to sit at the table with a business that aims to entertain 18+, then maybe they want to sit at the table with an industry that supports sport, supports culture.