A new way of looking at player protection, that’s what the new gaming world needs for continuity and to keep it fun for everyone, says Ben Verhoeff, responsible gaming manager of NMi
The new generation is a fact of life. Besides the physical world, we now have a virtual one as well.
In the gaming world we talk about land-based and online gaming. Clearly these are two completely different worlds, and as a result we are increasingly seeing priorities change. What is important for land-based gaming is less so for online, and vice versa.
And because the two worlds are more or less at odds with each other, there is little sign of cross-pollination as yet. Luckily, this is starting to change. Legislation for both the online and the land-based markets is changing, and we have to respond to that. The developments that this is bringing about have the potential to be very refreshing, delivering new frames of reference. A whole new playing field is emerging, full of challenges for both the market and the industry.
One of the things that is easier to do in land-based gaming is observing players’ physical behaviour. Well-trained staff can tell how a player is doing from the way they are behaving, and can respond accordingly. This is difficult in the virtual world, but not impossible. Nowadays there are some very effective ways for providers to keep an eye on a player’s behaviour and make sure they don’t get into difficulties. Providers in the online gaming market say they are already doing this, using methods such as self-testing tools and by monitoring players’ behaviour – or rather, identifying abnormal behaviour. Significant sums are being invested in this, but it is often invisible to the outside world. And the extent to which this is happening is also often not apparent to the public or the regulator.
Saying or advertising the fact that the player’s welfare is the top priority and that everything is being done to protect players from themselves is one thing. But doing it effectively and being open and transparent about the fact that you are doing it is a whole different ball game.
An operator or provider can demonstrate the extent to which they monitor their players’ welfare and take action if things go wrong by having their Responsible Gaming programme certified by an independent party.
At NMi we have added a special certification scheme to our package of services which enables providers to have their responsible gaming practices inspected and assessed. We are the only organisation to offer this in the form of a certification scheme which gives the regulator the peace of mind that the scheme, which is to be monitored by the Accreditation Board, is also regulated. This closes the circle, producing a solid, reliable control mechanism. One that is itself monitored by an independent advisory board that a regulator can rely on and the public can trust.
More information: www.nmi-gaming.com