International top experts speak at the RGA, one of the most important responsible gaming conferences worldwide, and provide insights into current research and studies.

The presentations:

The American sociologist Dr. Rachel Volberg took a critical look at the negative effects of gambling on social coherence. In the USA at least, gambling leads to a “redistribution from the bottom to the top”, said Volberg, a situation that has been contributed to by the legalization of the former ‘vice’ and ‘sin’ of gambling.

The psychologist Dr. Ken Winters from the University of Minnesota focused in his presentation on the particular risks of gambling for youth. Winters explained that “most adults with a gambling problem began gambling at a very early age, so prevention is very important in these age groups. Whilst almost all developed nations impose age limits of 18 or frequently often 21 years, the current generation of young people is growing up with permanent ready access to gambling thanks to smartphones and the internet. Alongside the unlicensed – but still accessible – gaming sites, there are also a host of skill games available on the internet, which are not played for money but still resemble games of chance (social gambling) and thus have to be kept under close and critical observation.”

Dr. Jonathan Parke, the British founder of the consumer research hub “Sophro”, analyzed the different levels of risk associated with different forms of gambling. He noted that it is difficult both for operators and for regulatory authorities to determine how risky a product is, and which factors make it problematic. According to Parke, “it is a challenge for both to keep pace with product developments and advances in technology.”

Malcolm Bruce, founder and Director of the British responsible gaming counseling platform “Gambling Integrity”, discussed the effectiveness of regulatory measures for responsible action and the protection of players. His conclusions: regulation alone is not enough. Certified standards are worthless if they are not implemented. And adherence to and implementation of these standards has to be monitored by independent auditors, not by the regulators themselves. If this is the case, then regulatory measures can indeed be effective.

In the final presentation, Prof. Dr. Michael Lehofer, Head of the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Departments at the University Hospital in Graz (LKH Graz Süd-West) reflected on the topic of “Desire – Archetype of Addictions?”, describing desire as the embodiment of the principle of hope.

3rd Responsible Gaming Stakeholder Dialog

The RGA conference was followed by the 3rd Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group Stakeholder Dialog. This year the discussions focused on criteria for a functioning responsible gaming as well as the monitoring and quality assurance thereof.

>> It is gratifying to see that there is no longer any discussion among licensed operators in Europe regarding the need for responsible gaming measures. On the contrary, they now focus on continually developing and improving such measures.<< Prof. Dietmar Hoscher, Director, Casinos Austria AG


High-caliber participants

The top experts who participated in the 3rd stakeholder dialog were as follows:

  • Prof. Dietmar Hoscher, Director, Casinos Austria AG
  • Managers from the Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group
    • Herbert Beck, Head of Division, Responsible Gaming, Advertising & Sponsoring; Authorized Signatory
    • Markus Eder, Head of Division, Public & European Affairs, Compliance/CSR
    • Hermann Pamminger, CSR Officer
    • Martin Hainberger, Director, Casino Linz
    • Wanda Wisgrill, Head of Department, Customer & Retailer Servicecenter
  • Alice Schogger, Head of Responsible Gaming Department, Austrian Ministry of Finance
  • Dr. Peter Jonas, Director of Certification, Austrian Standards Institute
  • Prof. Dr. Herwig Scholz
  • Elisabeth Gizicki-Merkinger, Chairwoman, SHG Anonyme Spieler (a self-help group for gamblers)
  • Karl Theny, former gambling addict, Member of the Board, SHG Anonyme Spieler


The results of the dialog

The topics discussed during the dialog included:

  • The criteria for a functioning responsible gaming and its quality assurance.
  • The development of responsible gaming standards and their implementation and certification.
  • The illegal competition and online gambling.
  • Informing/raising awareness among young people by young people in the military or in schools, whereby the initiative should be run by the state.
  • The comorbidity of mental illnesses and pathological gambling.
  • TV and radio advertising by illegal gambling operators.

The discussion points will be evaluated by our Responsible Gaming department and used as input for further developments in player protection.