Two years ago, Responsible Game started on a new road, that of carrying out programs within a legal entity, respectively a free-standing Association. After a period of settling in, followed a very strong focus on elaborating projects, these already entering the materialization stage. However, the moment came for the Association’s organizational development, and as such, we performed an analysis in order to find out what is happening in Europe, as well as in other continents, with regards to the organization, coordination and funding method of similar programs.
|Once with the gambling operators’ ever-growing involvement in shares, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects or programs, both in Romania and internationally, a need was felt for creating a free-standing entity which would develop and implement such initiatives.|
As such, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were created especially for this objective, which, in time, have become reference points for the gambling industry’s responsible involvement in the community. Certainly, at international level, in countries with a richer experience in CSR initiatives, there are a variety of NGOs which, although share a common point – that of developing social responsibility programs in the field of responsible game-, they are different in at least two significant ways: the funding sources and the structure of their boards.
As such, regardless if we’re talking about the National Health Institute (Italy), National Betting Authority (Cyprus), Federal Bureau of Public Health (Switzerland), independent NGO’s (United Kingdom, Czech Republic, South Africa, USA) or about the Advisory Council on Responsible Game (Spain), the Andalusian Federation for Player Rehabilitation (Spain), the Responsible Gambling Foundation (Malta), only the manner in which they intervene within the community with regards to gambling is, mostly the same, focused on three major directions: prevention, education, intervention.
For example, in Italy, Cyprus, Switzerland or Spain, the state – alone or in partnership with other entities – is the one that funds or financially supports organizations or structures which offer services as to promote the responsible game concept. Furthermore, in the United Kingdom, Malta and Italy again, the non-governmental organizations which offer such services are financially supported, directly or indirectly, by the gambling operators. Last, but not least, in South Africa or the Czech Republic, there is a mix of funding sources from the state and the gambling industry.
With regards to the structure of the board, Great Britain, for example, is an interesting case study in this respect. GambleAware and GamCare are two important reference points with regard to the implementation of social responsibility projects specific to the gambling industry.
As such, GambleAware, an organization funded mostly by the gambling industry in Great Britain, renews its strategy every three years. This is elaborated by an independent board – called the Strategy Board for Responsible Game – that is made up of 11 experts in various fields, such as psychotherapy, economy, religion, health and the social field. Subsequently, the strategy is forwarded to the Gambling Commission (the state authority that regulates the gambling industry) and to operators in the industry for recommendations and examples of good practices.
With regards to the GamCare organization, its Board is made up of a president (who usually is a financial consultant); two vice-presidents – one specialized in tourism and the other, a lawyer specialized exclusively on services destined for the gambling and entertainment industries; four members – the CEO of a gambling operator; a psychiatrist; a pharmacist and a mental health expert.
Spain, through the Advisory Council for Responsible Game, is another interesting example in this respect. This represents an entity made up of consultants – gambling operator representatives, university representatives or associations representatives linked to the gambling sector, including consumer protection – and it is presided over by the director of the gambling regulation authority in Spain. The latter appoints council members for a period of three years.
It’s worth mentioning the South African Responsible Gaming Foundation as well, from the perspective that the board is made up of a CEO with experience in strategic planning, project management and organizational development, a lawyer and a third person with experience and expertise in the field of gambling.
Last, but not least, in the United States, the National Council on Problem Gambling can be a good example in the sense that the organization is made up of an Administration Board and an Advisory Board. The Administration Board is made up of representatives from councils on gambling issues from several states, including university professors. The Advisory Board, made up of ten members, also includes industry representatives.
As such, we can conclude that, although the predominant funding source for these organizations is, as it is normal, the gambling industry, there are various models for the organization and coordination of Responsible Game-type entities. These represent inspirational sources for choosing the optimal structure for our Association’s organizational development.