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 Mr Francesco Parola, SVP, Italy Lottery Operations, IGT, CEO Lottoitalia, CEO Lotterie Nazionali, 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?
The entire assessment process took place remotely; however, we already had the opportunity to tackle this new type of approach during the partial assessment in November 2020. Therefore, our learning curve improved, and the process went smoothly. We have learned that the most important topic is planning in advance and coordinate any steps from the very beginning, leverage the most of our technological infrastructures too.
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?
It is a story of increasing and progressive awareness about the importance of this international certification. As a Company we were excited to join this EL project and we can be considered now in the small group of trailblazers of this initiative. We are very proud of it. We have grown in two aspects. First, we showed in the past years how important we consider to be an active and loyal member of an Association, consequently respecting bylaws, rules, ethical standards, international requirements, and maintaining this high commitment for so many years. It is a value in terms of credibility and reliability in our community. Second, from the beginning of this process and along its path, we progressively decided to reinforce our commitment towards creating an innovative culture of gaming as a form of safe entertainment, strengthening our strategy to deliver a sustainable highest consumer protection and responsible standards. The protection of the player is key for our daily work. The EL certification we achieved, for the fifth consecutive time, is a great encouragement to continue paving the way.
Reaching the fifth certification is a huge achievement. Did you set yourself specific goals this time and did you reach your expected results?
Obtaining this 5th certification was the main goal and makes us proud because it demonstrates our ongoing willingness to create a responsible gaming culture along all our stakeholders. We were also expecting to add new processes and projects aimed to improve our responsible gaming strategy, and we did it.
What was the most difficult part of the fifth certification and how did you overcome it?
Dealing with the entire certification process remotely and at the same time responding to the new requirements challenged us a lot, however it proved to be an important milestone of assessment and growth.
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?
I consider it an added value by definition and its influence on all aspects of our operations is huge. Like I said, this certification, and even more because it has been obtained for the fifth time, proves our commitment to social values, sustainability, integrity, consumer protection and underlines the highest quality of our gaming products, technologies, and ability to innovate. IGT wants to maintain its leadership in all these aspects. We are a Company always proactive and open to demonstrating our commitment to achieve international certifications, to respect all international standards requested by our trade associations worldwide and at European level. It is something very well known by all the stakeholders’ which are part of our community. And I think it is acknowledged and highly appreciated.
What advice do you have for EL Members who are about to start their fifth certification?
Please go ahead, we need as many Lotteries as we can to achieve this level!
What tips do you have for non-certified EL Members who are completely new to the whole process?
I have only a humble advice, or suggestion: please start the process, trying not to be influenced by a negative bias because of initial difficulties, or being concerned by the many initiatives requested to complete the first steps of the process. As I mentioned, it is a path. I know that the EL Executive Committee considers this element as a priority and the Working Group chaired by Romana Dernovsek is doing an exceptional effort to motivate non-certified EL Members. We are still to have an important result to achieve, and I am sure that under her leadership we are heading in the right direction.