Towards a stronger culture of industrial responsibility and cooperation: in Europe and beyond

As new gambling regulations and new digital technologies emerge across Europe, businesses face similar challenges related to safer gambling and other areas. In this column, Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) calls for global business collaborations and joint efforts to establish best practices and standards for an effective approach in this direction.

As demands for safer gaming continue to grow in European countries, it is important that gaming companies take their representation in society seriously to ensure a sustainable future for the sector. If we don’t, society will react and ever-tighter regulation will become inevitable and impact our ability to continue doing business. As companies and associations, we all need to work more closely together towards a stronger culture of accountability and cooperation so that the industry is better organized and represented.

Because there are far too many operators who sit on the periphery of our industry, do not contribute to industry representation and choose not to participate in trade associations like the EGBA.

Accountability certainly requires commitment and resources. But there are a few simple rules businesses can follow. Become a member of a professional association if you aren’t already. Invest in relationships with broader stakeholders and our critics. Help develop and enforce local industry codes of conduct. Meet regularly with political and regulatory leaders to identify problems and find solutions. Be open, honest and transparent about your activities. Invest in strengthening the voice of the industry.

Many of the challenges facing the sector are common and cross-border in nature and that is why greater cooperation between businesses and associations is so important. Enhanced cooperation, particularly around safer gambling, can help industry players share information, learnings and best practices on which self-regulatory initiatives are working well and which are not. and create a more supportive ecosystem to amplify the voice of the industry.

We are delighted that many national professional associations share this vision – and actively participate in the European Platform of Online Gambling Associations, which we created together with them in 2019. It is encouraging that participation in the platform continues to grow, and this underlines that a stronger industry voice, through cooperation, is a shared vision across Europe. The platform already brings together 21 professional organisations* to share knowledge, experience and best practices. It meets regularly and, in many respects, organizes cooperation that has already existed for many years.

The platform also provides an important launch pad for joint industry actions, including the annual European Safer Gambling Week, which EGBA first launched in 2021. Safer Gambling Week is a important accountability initiative to promote safer gambling in Europe and is jointly organized by the EGBA and various national professional associations. This year’s edition takes place October 17-23, and we look forward to having open, honest, and constructive conversations about safer play during the week.

Our members take their responsibilities seriously and work hard every day promote safe and sustainable play – and cooperate together to be transparent and accountable in their activities. This is part of our collective effort, as EGBA, to contribute to a sustainable gaming sector that can fight for its interests, recognizes its place in society and addresses any concerns that society may have, today and in the future. But we cannot do it alone. That is why we are happy to have national partners who are committed to a stronger culture of responsibility and industry cooperation: in Europe and beyond.

* AFJEL – French Association of Online Gambling Operators (France); AOJND – Asociația Organizatorilor de Jocuri de Noroc la Distanță (Romania); APAJO – Associação Portuguesa de Apostas e Jogos Online (Portugal); BAGO – Belgian Association of Gambling Operators (Belgium); BGC – Betting and Gaming Council (UK); BOS – Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (Sweden); DOCV – Deutscher Online Casinoverband (Germany); DOGA – Danish Online Gaming Association (Denmark); DSWV – Deutscher Sportwettenverband (Germany); EGBA – European Gaming and Betting Association (EU); HOGA – Hellenic Online Gaming Association (Greece); IBA – Irish Association of Bookmakers (Ireland); IBIA – International Betting Integrity Association (World); iGEN – European iGaming Network (Malta); Jdigital – Asociación Española de Juego Digital (Spain); LIAB – Latvijas interaktīvo azartspēļu biedrības (Latvia); LOGiCO – Lega Operatori di Gioco su Canale Online (Italy); NBO – Norsk Bransjeforening for Onlinespill (Norway); NOGA – Dutch Online Gaming Association (Netherlands); PIGBRIB – Polska Izba Gospodarcza Branży Rozrywkowej i Bukmacherskiej (Poland); OVWG – Österreichische Vereinigung für Wetten & Glücksspiel (Austria).

Helen D. Jessen