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.
EL Member Szerencsejáték Zrt., the Hungarian national lottery is Responsible Gaming certified for the fifth time. This is an excellent achievement which emphasises the importance of the core lottery value of responsibility.
In this interview, Andrea Mager, CEO of Szerencsejáték Zrt. tells us all about the growing activities of the lottery in the field of responsible gaming and the developments over the past years since its first EL Responsible Gaming Certification.
Szerencsejáték Zrt., the Hungarian national lottery company was the first in the Central and Eastern European region to receive the responsible gaming certification from EL in 2010. It received the triennially reviewed recognition for the fifth time in 2022.
Szerencsejáték Zrt. is a national gaming operator wholly owned by the Hungarian state, which, thanks to the dynamic growth of the recent years, joined the group of the top 10 companies with the largest revenue in Hungary in 2021. As a member of EL, the company signed up to the Responsible Gaming Standards Documentation Certification Framework in 2010 and has since been participating in the independent certification process that verifies that the lottery company adheres to the requirements of the standard.
The national lottery company has been implementing stricter standards in its game management activities for many years over and beyond its current legal obligations and has paid particular attention to all the areas that promote the protection and information of players, as well as prevention. Responsible gaming principles are applied in all aspects of the company's operations, from research, including game development and distribution, to marketing activities. In the latter context, it has adopted the strictest advertising code of ethics in Hungary.
Your lottery has been certified for the fifth time. How did the process differ from previous certifications? What are the biggest lessons learnt?
Our independent auditors have been assisting us for 12 years, thus they are familiar with the complex process of auditing. As a result, everything has gone really smoothly as the whole process is becoming increasingly seamless. The tightening and revision of the Responsible Gaming Standards 2021 was new in that, we had to comply with several new requirements.
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?
According to the surveys, Szerencsejáték Zrt. has the highest public trust index among the large Hungarian companies, one of the pillars of which is the widespread awareness and recognition of our responsible gaming operations in Hungary. Our responsible approach, which can override our profit expectations plays an increasingly important role in our corporate activities. As a result of continuous auditing over the past 12 years, we have a more conscious and measurable approach to responsible gaming, it enjoys explicit management-level attention and focus, and is reflected in our new corporate strategy. The online sports betting market in Hungary has opened as of 1 January 2023, and one of the conditions for entering the market is the application of responsible gaming principles. We pursue our activities applying higher level standards in this area than the legal requirements, and this is recognised not only at the domestic level, but also internationally.
Reaching the fifth certification is a huge achievement. Did you set yourself specific goals this time and did you reach your expected results?
We are proud to have passed the audit for the fifth time and achieved 95%. Defining measurable KPIs for each activity was one the elements of this, which we monitored continuously with our professional partners. Our declared ambition is to use the findings of the audit to draw up an action plan that, if implemented, will lead to an even better result in the next audit.
What was the most difficult part of the fifth certification and how did you overcome it?
Our operations have become increasingly complex, our turnover has doubled in four years and as a result we are now the 10th largest company in terms of revenue in Hungary. This complexity, the continuous development of games and the proliferation of digital channels also means a more complex responsible gaming operation, which is a longer process to audit. The 12 years of professional experience of our auditor, PwC Hungary, has helped us achieve this.
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?
The research data also shows that the audit and the acquisition of the certificate directly influenced stakeholders' perceptions about us. The performance of a public operator in this area is first and foremost very important for the public at large, for our players, but also for the legislator and the authority itself. The certificate itself is a very important tool in our operations and, as we say, it has been ingrained in the DNA of our national lottery company. Being certified is particularly valuable for us in the context of the liberalisation of the Hungarian online sports betting market, thus we consider the certificate to be a clear competitive advantage in a competitive environment.
What advice do you have for EL Members concerning their (re)-certification process?
Obtaining the certificate is a long and complex process that requires management-level attention and an appropriate mandate within the company, because many areas need to work together in a concentrated and timely manner. We strongly recommend having a responsible coordinator who can oversee the procedure from the company's side and prioritise company's processes so that they can comply with the audit according to a predefined timeline.