A lot has happened in 2018, in the gambling industry. Players, operators and regulators are changing their behaviour, and very importantly, mainstream media is now watching.
We saw more gambling operators trying to protect their customers, clearly aware that player safety is key to their own sustainability. We also saw others doing only the bare minimum to stay within the law – and sometimes failing to do even that. On that note, we saw many operators being fined for the first time, and particularly in the UK, different regulatory bodies working together to protect consumers.
In 2018 we saw regulators all over the world stepping up and enforcing others to step up, but we still saw a few taking positions that nobody who knows anything about gambling can really understand. New gambling markets emerged without a real Player Safety strategy incorporated in their regulation, while old markets started using their decades of experience to finally start doing something about it. One has to wonder why some of these new markets are not taking advantage of other countries’ past mistakes to create a much safer gambling environment.
Players are consumers, and consumers are getting smarter. People are finally talking about gambling like they talk about other addictions, and they are aware that playing slot machines or in an online casino can be as dangerous as drinking, if not more. Regardless of how normalised gambling may be in some countries, more and more people are able to see right through its “harmless fun” mask.
Parents are becoming increasingly aware of the risks their children are exposed to, when playing an apparently safe computer game. In 2018, many heard the word “skins” associated with gaming, for the first time. They have started to ask what a Loot Box is and demanding more information on what really happens inside those games, and how to tell them apart.
Gambling support network
As awareness grows, so does the network of people and organisations who work tirelessly to help those with a gambling problem. In 2018 we saw organisations and former gamblers working together to help others. We saw academics working on this subject, we saw doctors being recognised. We want to thank each and every one of these people, who have improved the lives of so many this year and will continue to do so in 2019.
A lot still needs to happen in 2019, and we are ready for it. Watch this space.
Happy New Year!