Published: January 17, 2024

CIBELAE: Responsible Gaming: a conversation with Pedro Leitão from Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Lisbon

The Portuguese institution not only offers entertainment through its games, but also strives to ensure that this experience is safe and responsible for all players. Their commitment to society and "Boas Causas" remains a fundamental pillar of their approach to legal and responsible gaming.

In the latest episode of the O Boletim video podcast , produced by Lisbon's Santa Casa da Misericórdia (SCML) , Teresa Nicolau - SCML's Director of Culture - dives into a fascinating conversation with Pedro Leitão, director of the Responsible Gaming Unit at Jogos Santa Home. The central theme of the discussion focuses on the fundamental requirements associated with a responsible gaming policy, a necessary initiative for institutions that seek to put gaming at the service of society and those most in need.

The meaning of Responsible Gaming

Pedro Leitão begins by explaining the concept of Responsible Gaming from the perspective of a gambling operator. For Santa Casa, responsible gambling involves the implementation of a set of mechanisms and tools aimed at preventing phenomena such as pathological gambling. The latter, recognized as a mental illness by the World Health Organization since 1978, affects a small proportion of the population, but requires special attention.

“Responsible gambling seeks to mitigate the risk of people falling into pathological gambling, a mental and behavioral illness,” highlights Leitão.

Risk factors and preventive measures

The director of the Responsible Gaming Unit of Jogos Santa Casa explains that, although the vast majority of the population, 98%, does not have problems with gambling, there are personal factors that can contribute to the development of addictive behaviors in a small part of the population. These factors are not only related to the characteristics of the games, but also to the personal characteristics of the players.

“It is essential to understand that Santa Casa's gaming offer seeks to divert people from illegal gambling, which carries additional risks, even for pathological gambling,” says Leitão.

Responsible advertising

One of the key aspects that Leitão highlights is the importance of responsible advertising. In this sense, Santa Casa follows stricter criteria than those established by law to guarantee that its advertising does not exploit the risk factors associated with gambling. All advertising pieces are previously evaluated based on criteria based on scientific research on the subject.

“Advertising must not contain content that could attract minors, and cannot suggest that players can dominate the game based on luck,” clarifies Leitão.

Contribution to “Boas Causas”

The history of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa stands out for its commitment to charity, solidarity and contribution to “Boas Causas” (good causes). Through its games, the institution has managed to transmit a positive message, beyond the results that each bettor can obtain by participating in Santa Casa games.

“The main motivation for playing is to win a prize, but many people mention that, in some way, it is also satisfying to know that, even if they don't win, they are contributing to charitable causes,” says Leitão.

The importance of education and support

Santa Casa not only focuses on offering games, but is also dedicated to transmitting knowledge about responsible gaming. The Responsible Gaming Unit, created in 2009, works to disseminate information and promote a responsible gaming environment in society. In addition, the institution has a support line for those who may have gambling problems.

Pedro Leitão concludes the interview by highlighting the importance of responsibility in the game and encouraging those who need support to contact the Holy House support line.

About the interviewee

Pedro Leitão, with a degree in Business Organization and Management, began his professional career working in product and service marketing, an activity that he continued to develop at Jogos Santa Casa starting in 2003, managing brands such as Euromillones, Totoloto and Totobola and, later, directing the studies and development area, having implemented the planning and periodic execution of market studies on the gaming habits of the Portuguese population. Since 2016, he has been director of the Responsible Gaming Unit at Jogos Santa Casa, having led the processes that allowed the company to obtain Responsible Gaming Certification in 2018 from European Lotteries and the World Lottery Association.


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