Elizabeth Speed, Novomatic Group General Counsel and Chair of bacta’s Social Responsibility Committee previews the forthcoming SR Exchange and argues that SR and safer gambling are the prisms through which all new ideas and developments are now viewed.
What do you think the key ‘take-outs’ will be from the SR Exchange?
Front and centre of this year’s Exchange will be the those at the heart of our customers’ time with us – our venue colleagues. They will be able to share practical experience and best practice, providing each other with lots of new ideas and tips to take away and build on.
There’s a host of events and symposia which look at safer gambling from an academic perspective – how important is to have one which looks at practical issues and from more of a hands-on industry stand point?
I think it is critically important and the Exchange presents an opportunity that other forums don’t. Having the chance to share best practice and ideas with peers in an informal but focussed environment in this way is unique in our industry.
How does the SR Exchange dovetail with bacta’s SR Committee which you chair?
Bacta’s SR Committee is the driver of the Exchange. Its members come from all parts of the industry that bacta represents, so it is able to look at safer gambling and SR from the perspective of customers of our venues and users of our products, with particular focus and insight. That in turn helps us, as a committee, decide what members might find helpful, whether in the Exchange environment as in this event, or using a different format such as last year’s event.
How would you say the industry’s relationship with safer gambling/SR has changed over the last decade. Would you say that safer gambling is now much higher up the agenda for operators?
I would say that it has always been at the top of the industry’s agenda – it just hasn’t been given its due recognition by those outside. Perhaps the difference is that the industry now sees that the things they have always done as part of their customer offering actually have names – SR and safer gambling, which are the prisms through which all new ideas and developments are viewed.
Would you say the record low percentage of problem gamblers has helped improve the profile of the land-based industry?
It absolutely should and I would like to say that it has, but in the uninitiated, ignorance is sadly all too prevalent. People see attention grabbing headlines and not the facts that underpin the historic place we hold in the country’s high street leisure activities. We hope that our regulator will support our work and help to relay that message.