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EGBA Hosts Responsible Gaming Day

February 25, 2009

The European Gaming and Betting association is an association of major gambling operators. One of the objectives of the EGBA is to promote Responsible Gaming. As a means of furthering this objective the EGBA had held a Responsible Gaming Day in 2008. Because of the success of that event the EGBA has decided to make this an annual affair. The second Responsible Gaming Day was held on the 17th of February with the theme “Integrity and Sport”.

The event was held at the European Parliament in Brussels and was attended by Members of the European Parliament, the EU Czech Presidency, regulators, academics, representatives from the sporting world and leading figures from the online gaming industry. The focus of the speeches was on the use of the Internet as a tool to improve customer protection and fraud prevention. Norbert Teufelberger, the chairman of the EGBA and the CEO of Bwin, delivered the welcome address. He stressed how the Internet can be used to enhance the transparency of gaming operations and how this can lead to fraud prevention and integrity. Keynote addresses were given by Members of the European Parliament.

The first panel discussed “Internet: Blessing Or Curse In Terms Of Integrity?” This was the more relevant discussion for online casino gambling. Prof. Dr. Howard Shaffer from the Harvard Medical School spoke about problem gambling. He described how the Internet can be used to map and study gaming behavior in a scientific way. Depending on what players say can be misleading because the players may not remember things accurately or may hesitate to tell the truth. However the Internet records of the players’ wagering do not lie. The Bwin group has been sponsoring research on problem gambling at Harvard. Prof. Shaffer told the delegates “…that the overwhelming majority of players gamble online in a very moderate and mild way”. Other speakers in this panel included Brian Pomeroy, Chairman of the UK Gambling Commission, and Leon Thomas, Head of Regulatory Compliance at PartyGaming.

The two afternoon panels discussed issues more directly related to sports betting. The topics were “Sport And Bookmaking: A Question Of Ethics?” and “Sport Betting: How To Tackle The Risks?”. The industry was represented by speakers from BetClick, Unibet and Sportradar AG. Members from the UEFA and FIFA also spoke. The consensus was that the Internet offers greater possibilities of preventing fraud. One way it does this is by giving early warnings so that timely action can be taken. One other point of agreement was that meaningful cooperation is needed between the sports sector, the regulators and the betting operators.

Teufelberger said in his closing remarks, “The discussion today has shed more light on the various risk factors and respective responsibilities of the different stakeholders in the sport chain to maintain integrity.”

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