by Pieter Remmers
In the late 80’s of the last century I was director of an outpatient treatment clinic for people with addiction problems in the Netherlands. At the same time we were running a number of ‘commercial’projects with the industry including EAP’s.
In those days I was asked to set up the Responsible Gambling programme together with Holland Casino. The focus was on how to deal with casino players with gambling problems. That was not easy in the beginning, we were accuded of working with and for the enemy and the gambling industry people told us it was only lip service. However we were convinced of the necessity of shared responsibility as a lot of jurisdictions look at it nowadays. It is not only the responsibility of the individual player, also the operator has a responsibility. Just look at the fines that the Gambling Commission in the UK gives to operators that don’t fulfil their duties regarding Problem Gambling, Responsible Gambling and AML. Other countries like Sweden and the Netherlands are following the British. But how do you measure this. What is the best standard to be used.
That is why we set up G4 (Global Gambling Guidance Group) to minimize the impact of problem gambling by promoting a worldwide accreditation programme for operators and suppliers. International accreditation enhances the perception of the entire gambling an betting industry and promotes the concept of safer gambling and betting.
The basis of G4 accreditation are the annually updated Code of Practice and the Audit checklists, Both are compliant with the highest standards required anywhere in the world.
Members of G4 are some of the largest and best-known international gambling and betting operators and suppliers, but there is also room for the small, one single site operators.
I often get the question if regulators understand gambling and the gambling industry. The answer is both yes and no. In theory regulators do understand gambling and betting, especially from a technical point of view. But it would be also good to have a look at what is the most effective way and system related to safer gambling and betting measures. Obstacles here are the research programmes required to inform the policy makers and regulators. Evidence based research takes time, often a lot of time. Usually more time than we have. Maybe we should have a closer look at what is best practices. What works? And doesn’t work? It is a real challenge to implement problem gambling and safer gambling measures based on research as well as the practical application. Customer experience is an essential part of the new policy.
As G4 we have an international Board with experts from different parts in the world. However Europe is by far the region that we work in most. Though we have done projects in Asia, Australia and North America as well. Recently we have audited a Chilian land based casino company called Dreams and they successfully passed the audit.
I am curious about the future and in what direction the gambling and betting industry will develop but for sure I am happy to be able to contribute to a better and safer future. Similar to many other businesses the gambling and betting industry can only survive when the focus is on sustainability. The message is simple and straightforward. Don’t go for the short term earnings or profit, but instead, focus on the long term profit. Keep your customers healthy, because it is only healthy customers that will stay.
BIO Pieter Remmers
Pieter Remmers is a veteran in the area of responsible gambling / safer gambling, consultancy and training of gambling industry professionals. He has been involved in projects with the gambling industry since 1989. Pieter started his career as the director of an outpatient clinic for addiction problems, Jellinek, in the early 80’s.
His company, Assissa Consultancy Europe, works/worked on responsible gaming policies and programs in a number of countries i.e. Netherlands, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, Malta, France, Sweden and others. He is also a very experiences trainer, over years of training and a registered MI (Motivational Interviewing) trainer. Besides Pieter is a consultant worldwide for as well as the gambling and betting industry land based and online, casinos, slot machine halls and lotteries and for regulators or other governmental bodies.
Currently he is very much involved in projects dealing with the problem of match fixing and AML and e-learning modules in different languages (English, German, French, Spanish and Dutch).
He is a member of the Executive Committee and serves as Secretary General of the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG) since 1997. In this capacity he is also the organizer of a conference every two years somewhere in Europe which is a real meeting point for regulators, industry, researchers/academics and representatives from treatment organizations.
Furthermore he is a shareholder and board member of HANDS (Human Assistance Network for Daily Support, 24 x 7 counseling services).
In 2003 he was the initiator of G4 (Global Gambling Guidance Group). G4 deals with an International Accreditation System on responsible gambling for the gambling, betting and lottery industry land based and online. Since 2004 Pieter is the Chair of the Board of G4.
Since 2009 he is a member of the Responsible Gaming Committee of IMGL (International Masters of Gaming Law) and since 2019 he is a member of the Responsible Gambling Committee of AGEM (Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers).
He is also a member of the Spielerschutzkommission (Responsible Gaming Commission) of the Gauselmann /Merkur Group, Germany and until recently he was a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Ministry of Health in Singapore and a member of the Advisory Council of the AWI (Automaten Wirtschaft Industrie) in Germany.
Pieter is a very regular speaker at many conference all over the world and freelance correspondent for a number of gambling industry magazines.