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Corporate Social Responsibility and the Gambling Sector – Myth or Reality?
JSME Vol 7: Issue 1, 2011
Author(s): Chris McDermott (Independent Consultant)
The Gambling Act 2005 made social responsibility a license condition for UK gambling operators for the first time. The main aim of this paper is to analyse the adequacy of the recently implemented social responsibility techniques at reducing the issue of problem gambling with regard to the UK online gambling industry.
The paper combines primary and secondary research in order to meet these aims and objectives. The primary research of the paper consists of a series of interviews and a website analysis. The secondary research is mainly derived from academic journals related to the subject area which form a basis for various judgements throughout the paper.
The paper postulates that the two major change agents in the industry have been technology and legislation. Technology has facilitated the use of online gambling and served as a platform for its ever increasing popularity throughout the UK. The legislation has also shaped the industry, with the significant license condition of social responsibility being compulsory in the UK. This license condition is aimed at combating the various problems associated with problem gambling.
Corporate social responsibility is seen as practices and policies which are enacted by business which recognise their social impacts. Due to the now inextricable link between the UK online gambling industry and corporate social responsibility there have been numerous policies introduced into the online gambling industry. Some of the prominent policies include; age verification policies, electronic deposit limits, self-exclusion policies and GamCare certification.
The primary research found some vital flaws in some of the social responsibility techniques. The interview responses highlighted the ineffective nature of the deposit limits in their capacity to prevent problem gambling, because of the sheer alternative opportunities to bet. This analysis was also consistent with the findings for self-exclusion policies. In contrast, the primary research also identified occasions where the social responsibility techniques are likely to be extremely useful. Another finding was that consumers lacked awareness of the recent change in legislation making social responsibility a license condition.
The paper concludes that the current social responsibility techniques are inadequate at minimising the issue of problem gambling. The flaws in the techniques and the number of alternative opportunities to gamble were cited as the reasons for such inadequacy. In conclusion, the paper recommends industry wide forms of social responsibility. However, the recommendation is not without its associated drawbacks.
Keywords: Gambling, online gambling, corporate social responsibility
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