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Responsible gaming in all channels

Svenska Spel develops targeted and adapted responsible gaming measures for the various sales channels. In common for all games is a minimum age limit of 18 to play and at Casino Cosmopol an age limit of 20 applies. Players can sign voluntary agreements about exclusion from or restriction of visits to the casinos. Players can also exclude themselves for registered games on Vegas, in stores and for all games on svenskaspel.se.

Responsibility in the retailer channel

Retailers impose an age limit of 18 when purchasing all of Svenska Spel’s products. To collect winnings, customers must also prove that they have turned 18. All forms of gaming on credit are forbidden.

Svenska Spel regularly checks its retailers’ age verification procedures through test purchases. A total of 81% (79) of the gaming retailers passed the test purchases. A total of 65% (60) of the Lotto retailers passed the checks.

Retailers who fail two consecutive checks are barred for two weeks, which, during the year, impacted 132 (157) lottery retailers and 15 (19) gaming retailers out of a total of 5,700 retailers. Two (two) lottery retailers lost their sales permits after failing four consecutive checks. Another nine retailers (11) lost their agency rights with Svenska Spel due to serious breaches of contract, of which one (five) was due to illegal gaming machines in the retailer’s premises.

Responsibility online and on mobile phones

The number of customers who play online is increasing and the channel’s high level of accessibility raises the requirements for effective responsible gaming tools. All online players must state how much money is to be transferred to their gaming account every week, and poker players must also state how long they intend to play. Svenska Spel recommends that ­customers use the responsible gaming tool Playscan to help players monitor their gaming habits.

In December 2013, 61,568 customers had opted to join ­Playscan, an increase of 2,453 compared with 2012.

Responsibility for Vegas

Svenska Spel’s mandate, to offer games on VLTs, is linked to clear restrictions regarding the location and number as well as levels for winnings and stakes for the VLTs. Under the Swedish Lotteries Act, the VLTs may only be located in restaurants with alcohol licences and in bingo halls with bingo permits, to ensure that the game is played in environments that enforce age limits.

The minimum age for gaming on Vegas is 18. Customers must register their date of birth before they can start playing. In the event of a win, the birth registration number is printed on the winning ticket, which must match the ID card before the winning is paid out. The gaming locations are approved by the Swedish Gambling Authority after receiving comments from the municipality.

In 2013, Svenska Spel conducted 2,341 test purchases (2,407) among its Vegas business partners to ensure that they are ­making sure that no minors are playing Vegas VLTs. Some 80% passed the tests, which was down somewhat compared with the preceding year.

In 2013, Svenska Spel implemented a new responsible gaming tool, which is accessible via the Spelkortet customer card. The tool enables customers to log in via the Spelkortet customer card and set gaming limits on time and money, to be able to see gaming statistics and block themselves from gaming on Vegas. Log in is voluntary, but players only have access to all games offered through the VLT when logged in. Svenska Spel developed the solution in dialogue with researchers in the responsible gaming field. Benchmarking of gaming was carried out ahead of the introduction of the log-in to be able to measure the effects of the responsible gaming tool. The first effect measurement will be carried out in 2014.

Study of Vegas

During the spring of 2012, Svenska Spel commissioned an in­­dependent study of Vegas aimed at identifying development areas to strengthen responsible gaming for Vegas and to minimise the risks of the game.

The investigator studied such matters as the gaming environ­­ment, permits, inspections, the illegal market, information and training initiatives and responsible gaming measures aimed at individual players. The investigator presented the findings during the autumn of 2012. The proposal has been reported previously in the annual reports as the work had not been completed. Read more about the investigator’s proposals to Svenska Spel hereinafter.

Reduced number of VLTs with new regulations

Since 1 January 2013, new limitation rules from the Swedish Gambling Authority apply for new gaming permits for VLTs. The aim is to ensure that the game remains a supplement to the business partner’s ordinary operations. Accordingly, requirements are imposed on the restaurants’ sales. The rule will reach full effect in 2014, and means that the number of VLTs will be reduced among a number of business partners that do not fulfil the new sales requirements. Cancellations will primarily effect business partners in rural areas.

Responsibility at Svenska Spel’s casinos

Responsible gaming is a core element of the hospitality of Casino Cosmopol’s employees. Casino Cosmopol holds a ­mandatory training programme in responsible gaming for all employees. The casinos’ staff work proactively and engage in dialogue with guests who show signs that the game is no longer enjoyable.

Casino Cosmopol has an age limit of 20 and works to hold preventive dialogues with guests aged 20 to 24. According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, men aged 18 to 24 represent a risk group in which the percentage with gaming problems has increased. The aim is to speak with all guests aged 20 to 24 who make 15 or more visits under a three-month period. A new guest registration system has facilitated efforts to identify guests in the relevant target group. In 2013, 4,663 dialogues (4,404) were held with guests who showed signs of unhealthy gaming behaviour or who belonged to the group of young guests.

For guests who perceive their gaming as becoming problematic, voluntary agreements can be signed to limit their casino visits or exclude themselves for at least two months. The casino informs guests of this possibility during a respon­sible gaming dialogue. Some 2,468 agreements (2,471) were signed during the year.

The staff are not permitted to accept tips and no bonus or other incentive system is in place to encourage gaming. Quite the reverse, employees are encouraged to reduce unsound gaming practices. Employees at Casino Cosmopol are not ­permitted to play at the casinos.

Dialogue with gambling addiction associations

As part of increasing knowledge about gaming problems, Svenska Spel maintains an ongoing dialogue with gambling addiction associations and representatives for the care and treatment of gambling addiction. Representatives for Svenska Spel visit the gambling addiction associations and meet them twice yearly at special forums. The dialogue provides the ­company with valuable knowledge about developments in the area, the games with most risk and opinions about Svenska Spel’s responsible gaming initiatives, as well as its new products and marketing.

Supporting research into gaming problems

Gaming research is a relatively young area of research in Sweden. Svenska Spel wants to contribute to increased knowledge of gaming and preventive initiatives to combat gaming problems and, accordingly, established a research council in 2010. The Council is comprised of experienced researchers and representatives from the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).

Over a four-year period (2011–2014) Svenska Spel contributed SEK 5 million each year to the Research Council. Applications are assessed based on scientific quality and relevance to society. To date, the Council has been granted funding for six doctoral positions. Projects include an evaluation of the ­Playscan tool led by Professor Per Carlbring, Stockholm ­University.

In the autumn, a research day was organised for the third consecutive year for all gaming researchers in Sweden and a few key employees of Svenska Spel. This year, invitations were extended to Professor Robert Williams from Canada – who spoke about the scientific evidence for prevention – and to Professor Sylvia Kairouz, Canada’s first professor in gaming problems.

In 2013, Svenska Spel decided to fund a professorial chair in research into gambling addiction. This will be Sweden’s first professorship in this field. Efforts to fill this position are ongoing and are expected to be completed in 2014.

What is happening in 2014?

  • Implementation of a new consistent approach to responsible gaming across operations that will better live up to customers’ expectations and a more sustainable society.
  • Transition to mandatory registration to allow customers’ to track their gaming and exclude themselves from games.
  • In-depth training of selected employees at the company’s customer service in responsible gaming dialogues.

Study of Vegas, examples of measures

Proposed measure Implemented by
Svenska Spel
Remaining
Mandatory game registration
  • Implementation of voluntary registration
  • Mandatory registration to be implemented in 2014
Training of personnel
  • Increased investment in training
  • Updating of training
  • The model is being prepared for further control and follow up in 2014
Experimental placement of Vegas in alcohol-free environments
  • Project group appointed for the investigation
  • Proposed experiment presented to the Board
Information campaign about games of chance
  • Campaign implemented during the year
Information to customers about illegal gaming
  • New brochure at the gaming locations
  • Information on the website
  • Inform through information in the media that Svenska Spel is the only company permitted to offer games on gaming machines
Information to business partners about illegal gaming
  • Continued information on introductory visits
  • New brochures and new information on the website

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