Responsible Gaming Conference 2016 organised by FSWS

“The Responsible Gambling Conference in Malta was a great conference with interesting evidence-based talks and a wide variety of stakeholder groups being represented. The feedback from participants was excellent”. These were the comments of Prof. Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University who was one of the four keynote speakers who addressed the first ever Responsible Gaming Conference held in Malta on Friday, October 21, 2016.

The Malta RGC 2016 brought together different stakeholders from the industry, government and treatment providers, to discuss the important issues facing the gaming sector in Malta with special focus on compulsive gambling.

The conference was the result of close co-operation built up over the years between the Prevention Services of Aġenzija Sedqa within the Foundation for Social Welfare Services and Unibet Group, one of Europe’s largest listed online gambling operators that has been operating in Malta since the year 2000.

The Hon. Michael Farrugia, Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity; the Hon. Emmanuel Mallia, Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy; Mr Alfred Grixti, CEO for the FSWS; Mr Maarten Haijer, General Secretary of the European Gaming and Betting Association; Mr Jesmond Schembri, Operations Director of Aġenzija Sedqa and Ms Maris Bonello, Integrity Analytics Manager at Unibet (International) Ltd. made opening remarks at the beginning of the Conference. The main presentations of this conference were delivered by five international experts: Dr Jane Rigbye who discussed the Data Reporting Framework; Dr Jonathan Parke gave A review of evidence about operator-based harm minimisation; Prof. Mark Griffiths explained The effectiveness of online RG tools; Mr Ian Semel and Ms Liz Karter explained the Gender Differences in Gambling.

Comments by the speakers on the RGC 2016 – Malta

In comments they made after the Conference, all these speakers had words of praise for the unique initiative taken by Unibet (International) Ltd. and  Aġenzija Sedqa in bringing together the main stakeholders to discuss the way forward of this growing and challenging economic sector.

Ian Semel, a former gambler turned gaming therapist said that: “The first Responsible Gambling conference held in Malta on the 21st October 2016 was an extremely well balanced and informative event. All sides of the industry including regulators, researchers, operators and treatment providers were represented and this enabled some lively discussion and debate which everybody present could learn from and hopefully benefit from in the future. It was an honour and a privilege to be asked to speak and I look forward to being afforded the same privilege at the next one, which I feel sure will happen due to the resounding success of the first one.”

“The real value of the Unibet /AġenzijaSedqa conference lay in bringing together stakeholders from sides of the debate to discuss these important issues. It is exactly the lively and passionate discussion that emerged that brings about innovative ideas and positive action. For anyone doubting that the Unibet / Aġenzija Sedqa was about making a real contribution to responsible gambling, one only has to look at the difficult topics of debate: ‘conflicts of interest between Responsible Gaming and Marketing’; ‘measuring impact not just activity’ and ‘putting VIP programs under the microscope’.”, said Jonathan Parke

Jane Rigbye emphasised that; “The Unibet Responsible Gaming Conference was a fantastic event which brought together all stakeholders, from industry to government to treatment providers, to discuss the important issues facing the gaming field in 2016. This was an important event not just for Malta but for all jurisdictions as the questions about prevention, regulation and treatment discussed were relevant to us all. I was particularly enthused by the commitment to developing best practice shown by treatment providers, and look forward to building on the connections made here and fostering collaboration between British and Maltese treatment services in the coming months.”

After the keynote presentations, the Hon. Silvio Schembri, Responsible Gaming Foundation; Dr Corinne Valletta representing the Malta Gaming Authority and Mr Manuel Mangani, Manager at Aġenzija Sedqa shared their views in an expert panel discussion.