Committed to addressing illegal gambling and related criminal activities while minimising any potential harm on society, EL has developed a Standard that aims to promote the adoption of best practices across the EL membership: the EL Responsible Gaming Certification.
During this interview with Ms Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, CEO of Austrian Lotteries, we hear all about the road to the fifth Responsible Gaming certification. Congratulations! Your lottery was certified for the fifth time during a global pandemic. How did the process differ from previous certifications? Did everything take place online? What are the biggest lessons learnt from such an experience?
We are proud to have this opportunity for the fifth time that our customer care efforts are compliant with the EL standards. We were already pandemic-audit experienced from previous audits during the last 20 months – so we prepared both options – face to face and online. About three weeks before the audit took place, we agreed to do it face-to-face with the auditors.
I think the pandemic taught us that many things we could not have imagined previously are becoming the new normal. Meetings, training, audits and other activities that we used to undertake face-to-face have been relocated to a screen, which works far better than we expected. Digitalisation became a reality at a tremendous speed because it was necessary. So, one additional learning is definitely that things can change very quickly when needed – we should keep this in mind when we put ESG theory into practice. Could you tell us about your progress since the first certification? What has changed and how did you grow and learn in the past 12 years?
The mission statement of The European Lotteries “promoting a sustainable and sound gaming model for the benefit of society” describes very well what drives our effort in talking responsibility. The Austrian Lottery has a long tradition with regarding responsibility as a key success factor for sustainability. During the early stages of the debate on Responsible Gaming, the industries’ approach was often driven by legal frameworks. So, the effort of The European Lotteries in defining standards for their Members – independent of legal frameworks – is a big step for creating that sound model.
We learnt that Responsible Gaming is more than a conceptual framework … it is an attitude and if you want to perform best for those who need your assistance in the use of your products, it is quite helpful, if your motivation is driven by “want to” instead of “have to”. Reaching the fifth certification is a huge achievement. Did you set yourself specific goals this time and did you reach your expected results?
As a Member of EL we are highly motivated in fulfilling the requirements for the Certification – for us and the community of the EL Members. We feel obliged to contribute with our effort to strengthen the reputation of our industry which is jeopardised by the practices of unregulated and illegal operators.
We know that continuous improvement is a key element for responsibility in our business. New technologies and insights from science and experts help us to grow with our performance to make gambling safer. In many countries where a license-system for gambling operators exists, responsible gaming is a decisive factor in choosing an operator. It makes a big difference if you tell others about your work in this field or if you invite independent auditors who check you according to well-established standards such as the EL Responsible Gaming Framework Certification. What was the most difficult part of the fifth certification and how did you overcome it?
The new RG Framework 2021 was approved by the General Assembly on 4 June 2021 and the revised Framework was announced to come into force per 1 September 2021. It was very clear for us that we want to be certified according to the latest Standard which was quite challenging for us. Our EL RG Certification was supposed to be completed by the end of September 2021 and therefore we and the auditors did not have much time to prepare the audits for the new RG Framework 2021.
After checking the major and important changes of the new framework, we found that we have already implemented all elements in our RG activities which we are very proud of and confirmed that we are doing the right thing. What was the added value for your lottery in being certified for a fifth time? For example, how does it influence your daily business - retail outlets, product development, relation with stakeholders?
From the first to the fifth certification, we perceived The European Lotteries as an organisation that acts according to its mission and wants to help their Members to be for the benefit of society. Continuous improvement is a decisive and relevant element of the EL RG Framework. Being certified for the fifth time according to those relevant and important standards demonstrates that the development of the Austrian Lotteries in the context of RG is at least on the same level.
This achievement is highly appreciated by our employees, our partners, our regulator and all other stakeholders. The most important added value is that our customers can trust us and see that we take our responsibility seriously. What advice do you have to EL Members who are about to start their fifth certification?
If you succeeded in doing the certification for four times already, your passion for this topic will lead to the proper development in your RG framework and you will be successful for the fifth time. What tips do you have for non-certified EL Members who are completely new to the whole process?
The EL Responsible Gaming Standards are an excellent guideline for establishing an effective and holistic RG approach. So, if you are at the very beginning of the process – don’t be afraid – all of us were at that point in the past. Be curious and passionate about this topic – it is too important to ignore it. Be part of the EL RG Framework and benefit the society.