Committed to addressing illegal gambling and related criminal activities while minimising any potential harm on society, EL and its members have developed a standard that aims to promote the adoption of best practices – the Responsible Gaming (RG) Certification. The newly introduced Commitment allows lotteries not yet RG certified, to enter the process in a smooth way, under the stewardship of EL.
Benefits of the Commitment Level
Loteria Kombëtare in Albania was the first-ever EL member to successfully achieve the Commitment Level in March 2019. Here is their story:
”Our lottery places utmost importance to Responsible Gaming, not only because of legal obligations but also because we care about player protection. We go beyond the legal requirements in order to protect players from gambling disorders. Presented with the new Commitment Level last year by the EL CSR-RG working group, the systematic approach toward the full certification looked very appropriate for our lottery, and we decided to start this process as soon as possible. We chose the Commitment Level before the Full Assessment as we wanted to know where we stand with these procedures and what we would need to do to improve or adapt in order to reach the EL RG Standards.”
The audit is performed by an external assessor recruited and paid for by EL, assisted by two members of the EL working group. The fee requested for the process is minimal compared to that of a complete certification process. The lottery is required to obtain at least 50 percent of the points in each of the 11 sections of the framework, as opposed to 75 percent for a complete certification.
”The most positive impact of this whole process was getting to know where we stand with the procedures and documentation in place and what we should do in order to improve for the Full Assessment. The most difficult and longest part was the gathering of the necessary documentation. In order to overcome this, teamwork and especially the great communication with the assessors was very helpful.”
Our advice to other EL members: If your lottery is not RG certified, start this process to better understand where you stand with RG procedures and learn how to improve and fill the gaps for the best interest of your lottery and player protection. Receiving recommendations from a specialised team of assessors makes it easy and clear to identify the possible actions to be taken.
The whole process for Loteria Kombëtare took approximately six months with 10 out of 50 employees from the organisation. A letter of intent was sent to EL in October 2018 with the intended submission date of March 2019. The experience was very good, and the lottery now plans to undergo Full Certification within 12 months.
On the road to Full Certification
While the Commitment Level is in its early stages, the Full Certification process continues to attract the interest of EL members. Last year two EL members were certified for the first time. OPAP in Greece who received its first Certification in August 2018 shares it experience in reaching this milestone:
”Responsible Gaming is a natural part of OPAP’s business strategy, and we try consistently to incorporate best RG practices into our daily operations and business. We decided to seek the highest level of EL RG Certification as we wanted to secure a confirmation that our daily conducting business is compliant with the highest internationally recognised RG standards.”
The project team was put in place in December 2017 and took eight months to prepare and run the assessment. Two employees were directly in charge of collecting the evidence with a wider cross-functional team supporting the process throughout.
”The most positive impact was that, internally, the audit helped identify some operational and procedural improvements to fortify its strengths in RG, as well as the areas where improvements could be made. It also helped all functions of the lottery engage more directly and to better understand RG. Externally, it offered even more proof to our stakeholders that we take our commitment to RG very seriously. A more challenging aspect was the coordination of several teams involved in the process.”
The Assessment was a complex process, but it ran smoothly as OPAP already had a RG strategy and initiatives in place and were already holders of the WLA Level 3 Certification in RG. They managed their submission like a cross-functional project. The EL scorecard was particularly useful as a planning guide, helping the lottery check progress at any stage of the process.
If we had one piece of advice for not-yet-certified EL members it would be: have a top management commitment in RG and engagement of all employees. RG should be part of a lottery’s DNA. Start early and select assessors with prior experience in EL RG audits.