EUROMAT workable principles on social responsibility, Monte Carlo 2018

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EUROMAT, the European Gaming and Amusement Federation, represents Europe’s private sector gaming and amusement machine industry. EUROMAT’s members manufacture, distribute and operate gaming and amusement machines across Europe. Gaming and amusement machines provide customers with an enjoyable leisure and entertainment experience in a regulated and safe environment.

EUROMAT believes that industry, government, and stakeholders must work together to ensure that social responsibility serves customers, communities, and employees. In 2015, EUROMAT has launched a set of industry commitments to ensure that social responsibility is embedded in the working practices of its members. The commitments were published as part of an industry report Playing Fair which provides a snapshot of current industry practice across Europe.

I would like to say that I am very happy and privileged to be a part of Euromat team and to be able to contribute.

At Gamming Summit in Barcelona, May 26 2016 – EUROMAT SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY EXPERT GROUP was established.

It was major event at EUROMAT Summit – launching Expert Group from diverse markets who have a mandate to establish workable principals that industry should promote to strengthen social responsibility.

EUROMAT tries for decades to make such strong and important connection and cooperation with regulators, all industry and other stake holders. We want to send strong message to the Regulators – that we committed to understand why the regulations are and what is the spirit of the law. We are trying that on equal terms discuss with decision makers about the essence of the laws – not to set restrictions, but transparency. The result is that Euromat voice and role is not only heard but we established a circle of trust and foundation for future cooperation. And what foundation it is! The foundation is built on great reputation and knowledge, as well on all Euromat high officers and colleagues who participated for years in Euromat building reputation.

There were lots of hard work and dedication behind our Barcelona Summit two years ago. During my work I was enjoying being among such intellectual and professional greatness and I am positive that all Summit participants have the same feeling.

In Rome, on 18th of October, on the 4th meeting of the High Level Expert Group on Social responsibility in Gaming at Nuova Fiera di Roma:
European Federation of Gaming and Amusement
Rue du Luxembourg 22 – 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
www.euromat.org

ADOPTED EUROMAT WORKABLE PRINCIPLES ON SOCIAL RESPOSNIBILITY,

PRINCIPLES:

1. Companies should ensure that the values of ethical business practice, product responsibility, environmental sustainability, professional conduct, partnership with relevant parties, fairness to all stakeholders, openness and transparency underpins their approach to social responsibility.
2. Companies should integrate social responsibility into the heart of their operations, which comprises of clear commitments, concepts and respective measures to take responsibility and improve the social and environmental impacts of the business operations.
3. Companies should always provide balanced information, allowing customers to make informed decisions. Management and staff members should be trained and be made aware of their obligations in this regard.
4. Companies should promote responsible gaming and be proactive in taking measures to protect players. Operators should promote effective mechanisms, to ensure joyful gaming while strengthening the individual responsibility.
5. The industry should work in partnership with relevant authorities, regulators, civil society organisations, research groups and academics to focus on evidence based policy that strengthens social responsibility.

Our principles are a clear basis upon which to build their implementation across Euromat members’ own particular circumstances. All members of the High level Expert Group contributed their knowledge and experience from their own national associations and industry that represent. They are: Chair of the Expert Group: Ms. Mirjana Acimovic, JAKTA, Serbia, and Chair of EUROMAT’s Social Responsibility in Gaming Committee;
1. UK – Mr. Jason Frost, President of EUROMAT;
2. Netherlands – Mr. Sanne Muijser, Secretary General of VAN;
3. Germany – Mrs. Simona Storch, managing director of Bundesverband Automatenunternehmer e.V. (BA);
4. Romania – Mr. Karoly Buzas, owner, Game World Group/ Board Member of the Romanian, Slots Organizers Association (ROMSLOT);

5. Romania – Mr. Valentin Adrian Georgescu, Admiral, Novomatic Group, CEO Romania/ Board Member of the Romanian Slots Organizers Association (ROMSLOT).

6. Austria – Philipp Gaggl, BA, Head of Group Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, NOVOMATIC GROUP

7. United Kingdom, Mr. Phil Silver, BACTA

We are very well aware of the European Commission’s Communication Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling. While this document is aimed at the remote sector, a number of its areas of activity equally apply to land-based facilities, in particular, those set out in its section 2.3, Protecting consumers and citizens.

Our principles not only echo elements of those actions, notably those concerning the desirability of drawing consumers away from unregulated and potentially harmful offers, and preventing the development of gambling related disorders.

In our principles we have not missed an important group of persons who are vulnerable to exploitation or to harm arising from gambling, whether on or off line; that is, children. In many countries there are a considerable debate and a body of opinion that is focused on the impact of children’s exposure and access to (lawful) gambling facilities. Euromat statement of principles will be enhanced by a public commitment to their application to children, and perhaps, in the words of the EC’s Communication, ‘other vulnerable groups’. We are very well aware about National and Company Codes which deal with matters which our principles embrace, but Euromat want to broaden this given greater specificity by including some of the more particular obligations on operators concerning such as gambling management tools and responsible gambling information, customer interaction, and self-exclusion.

We received endorsements from industry community, from Regulatory bodies, Professors, PhD Doctors and many eminent experts as well from NGO. We can say they all have something in common – that they say that our principles are well articulated and a general need for our business and clients.

In order to encourage the acceptance in society, media and public we found out that we would need an operational tool which shows that we are really living those principles. This time we do not need what is only supporting and promoting our business that means what is mainly focused on your own business. It is meant to be a part of our core activities, something what is especially and only our key business – from nobody else within the society – and for what we are responsible at and for the society where our business is located, only us.

OUR principles have to be lived and to be perceived constantly, day by day in a way that our consumers, the whole society and the media appreciate it. So we want our principles and our social responsibility operationally.

Therefore, one of the first steps in this purpose Euromat engaged and supported master thesis assessment of how to implement EUROMAT principles. The student is now analyzing key criteria which a meaning- and impactful responsible gaming framework consists of.

Starting with March Mrs. Isabel Bader (in cc) is analyzing which elements are needed to develop a credible and practical implementation framework for the 5 EUROMAT Social Responsibility principles. She is verifying and complements her findings with interviews with key experts.
She has done her desk research and now seeks your perspective on the identified elements and the success factors for our EUROMAT principles.

At the end I would like to assure that Euromat would like to cooperate with all European and World organizations who already has and conduct there own principles and to improve all of our protection measures.

“The document is double edged in that EUROMAT Members agree to raise awareness, promote best practice and take steps to ensure consumer protection and this commitment is designed to help companies adopt best practice, use innovative ways to protect consumers and at all times act in a socially responsible manner.

It is also double edged in the sense that if we want consumers to ‘gamble responsibly’ then we also desire companies to ‘act responsibly.

The principles are only as much worth as their credibility (else it will be regarded as green washing) – the credibility is mainly based on how honest, strict and deep the principles are implemented – ideally their implementation is also verified by an external source, assurance provider etc. in the near future.

Only credible and robust steps in the key issues of responsibility can gain trust – so we have a high interest in strong EUROMAT SR principles.

Mirjana Acimovic, Cahir of the Euromat Social Responsibility Committee, 6th June 2018, Monte Carlo

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