Maltco Launches Responsible Gaming Initiative

MEDIA ROOM

Lottery operator Maltco has set up an initiative to encourage responsible gaming – gambling for entertainment purposes only – without allowing it to become an addiction.

“Gambling is played responsibly when it does not take over important and serious matters, such as family, work and friends,” a statement on Maltco’s website reads.

“When a player exceeds that form of entertainment and does not control the way he or she plays, gambling becomes an addiction problem.”

In a press conference, Maltco’s CEO John Katakis said that the programme – the first of its kind in Malta – was being set up to protect minors and other vulnerable persons in society who may have a tendency for gambling. “These people exist and it is our job to guide them so that they seek the necessary help if required,” he said.

Katakis said the initiative started  two months ago when the company sent out a number of suggestion forms and surveys to various stakeholders in the field such as Caritas and the Lotteries Gaming Authority (LGA) who then passed on these to the general public. Katakis said the feedback they received confirmed that there were, in fact, people who suffered from gambling problems. Asked as to what specific measures Maltco would be taking to address the issue, Katakis said that age restrictions needed to be taken seriously, and that the sale of lottery tickets ‘on credit’ would not be allowed.

Furthermore, Katakis said that a self-assessment test – which poses questions related to how frequent a person gambles, and how much money one spends on gambling – could be found on the company’s website.

“In today’s world, where there are many more opportunities for people to bet and gamble, the concept of responsible gaming was even more crucial. It is important that any exposure to irresponsible gambling is minimized as much as possible,” he said. Meanwhile, Laura Da Silva, a trainer at Silverfish CSR Ltd – a consultancy firm which helps companies grow in a repsonible way – and former employee of Camelot, the UK’s major lottery operator, said that gaming addiction was a very real scenario and that measures must be taken to address it.

She said that the initial idea of the lottery was to generate money in a socially responsible way, and thus the concept of social responsibility must be respected.