Can the gaming industry self-regulate? Unfortunately, there are many in the general public who would probably say no.

Take a quick skim of recent local media reporting – especially since the Crown and Star coverage started – and you’ll see why. And its effects have been quick to emerge; there’s already evidence regulators are being more proactive in monitoring venues post-lockdown.

After 25 years of working with gaming regulators and implementing regulations across many jurisdictions, there’s no question about it: industry rules are essential.

But it sparks these two big questions: who drives the regulations, and can gaming venues be trusted to play within their own rules?

One of the criticisms of Crown in the Victorian inquest is that they did not have sufficient embedded processes to effectively police the very standards they espoused.

If the community, government and regulators can’t trust gaming venues to effectively self-regulate, then governments and regulators feel obliged to introduce further rules and focus on enforcement. And this has serious impacts for everyone in the gaming sector.

Here’s why.

Regulations from any governing authority are usually well-intended. They’re designed to protect things and reduce the chances of harm occurring.

New official regulations often come in response to an isolated incident, especially if it gets media attention. This then amplifies most of the industry’s perceived problems, making it a bigger magnet for more rules and official oversight.

But, because these rules are typically drafted by committees, they tend to become blunt instruments designed to cover various issues, real and possible. And this can have unintended consequences – which can give rise to further regulations.

This can then lead to regulation overlap. It’s a common problem in hospitality and gaming: new rules from an authority can take time to implement and measure. In the meantime, extra regulations are introduced to deal with unintended side-effects from these new regulations and… you can see what I mean.

Stacks of extra rules and regulations can make it harder to run clubs and venues. Daily operations need to adjust to meet them, and that includes correctly interpreting and enforcing them – which can be fraught.

And keep in mind that regulations rarely get repealed. They arrive – and they stay.

I get it; all of this can be tough to live with.

But, there is a way to get ahead of it.

It’s called effective self-regulation.

The gaming industry already knows what needs to be done to keep its house in order, and not just to keep the authorities and general public happy – whether it’s with social responsibility compliance, duties of care, avoiding and minimising problem gambling, AML/CTF… it’s a long list.

And rightly so – because the community expects a lot from us. It’s another reason why our industry leaders and peak bodies need to drive self-regulation – and drive it relentlessly. And venues have a big role to play, too: they need to develop processes and implement technologies that reinforce the rules they espouse.

Effective self-regulation makes sense.

It’s easier. For everyone.

For the regulators, they see their industry meeting its rules without the need for more of them.

For the community, they see the industry behaving as it should, which builds their confidence and trust.

And for clubs and venues, they reduce the time and expense extra regulations bring. This in turn reduces costs, adding financial value over the long-run.

But for now, you can see why greater self-regulation is essential for hospitality and gaming.

It’s a key reason why we developed cherrycheck. It’s a simple-to-use mobile app for staff and management that helps ensure harm minimisation standards are met. It lets staff proactively address sensitive situations like managing problem gamblers, and guests whose behaviour might be outside industry standards and rules.  It also automates your gaming incident register and eases AML/CTF obligations, relieving staff from onerous administration.

Cherrycheck helps venues implement what regulators have already identified as best-practice harm minimisation. It’s a big part of our Cherry Hub digital platform.

It’s all part of helping build a sustainable future for hospitality and gaming. And much of this is making sure it’s easier for everyone to play by the rules.

I want to be crystal clear; regulations are good. After 25 years of industry management and having served on Ministerial Advisory Councils, our industry needs them.

But the reality is simple: the rules of play won’t get any easier if you wait for the regulators to tell you what to do.

You can either passively wait for the rule-makers to keep giving more instructions (which can be complex and expensive). Or you can actively self-regulate knowing what should and shouldn’t be done (which frees up time and money).

 

For more information on cherrycheck go to cherrycheck – venue compliance management app – cherryhub  where you can also request a demo.

Or you can contact me direct  .

 

As an exclusive The Drop offer for first 10 venues who mention this article can have cherrycheck implemented straight away without any obligations and no subscription fees until 2022.

The choice is simple.

Frank Makryllos