EGBA: European Gambling has made significant progress on sustainability

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has stated that 2022-to-2023  activities have underlined European gambling incumbents heightened commitment to responsible gaming and increased customer engagement. 

The observation forms part of the trade body’s “Annual Sustainability Report for 2023” – which provides an overview of industry initiatives promoting safer gambling and data regarding the association’s environmental footprint and further social directives.

According to the report, EGBA members demonstrated a 20% increase in the dissemination of safer gambling messages to their customers. 

European operators sent a total of 45.5 million such messages in 2022, with almost half of them personalised and directly linked to individual customers’ gaming behaviour.

Of importance, the practice of personalisation increased by 40% from the previous year, indicating an enhanced commitment to proactive interaction with customers across markets. 

EGBA’s Secretary General, Maarten Haijer, lauded the progress: “We’re delighted that our members continue to make positive progress in their efforts to promote safer gambling.”

Yet, despite significant improvements recorded in the past 12 months, Haijer and the EGBA maintain that the industry requires “greater engagement, responsibility, and cooperation between stakeholders both inside and outside the industry”. 

A notable statistic highlighted in the report is the growth in customer accounts, which increased by 5% year-on-year to 31.2 million.

Male customers made up the majority at 74%, with the remaining 26% being female. Two age categories, 26-35 years and 36-50 years, made up the largest customer groups, each representing 30% of the total customer base. 

On the safer gambling front, a total of 18.4 million customers used at least one safer gambling tool, marking a 60% increase from the previous year. Deposit limits were the preferred choice, accounting for 67% of the tools utilised.

Of significance in the wake of interventions about their gambling behaviour, 51% of customers experienced reduced financial losses in the three months following customer care interventions.

The report also highlighted a doubling (+109%) in the industry’s contribution to problem gambling research, education, and treatment (RET) across Europe, totalling €49m. However, donations to charities saw a minor decrease of 5% to €127m. 

On sustainability matters, the report revealed an 11% increase in employee numbers, totalling 66,386 individuals, with a gender split of 57% male to 43% female. 

The inclusion of these new data points, according to Haijer, demonstrates the personal and crucial commitment of the CEOs to the collective sustainability drive of the association.

The environmental performance was also a part of the report for the first time. Both total greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption saw a yearly increase, while renewable energy usage also rose, contributing to 69.2% of total energy consumption. 

Secretary-General Haijer added: “We’re particularly pleased this year to expand the scope of our sustainability reporting and to publish for the first-time new data points about our members’ progress in the areas of employment and diversity, as well as metrics on energy and environmental performance.”

Haijer concluded by urging operators to adapt to the evolving political and regulatory landscape, stating, “these operators need to wake up to the changing political and regulatory landscape: it is not 2007 and this is not a nascent industry anymore.”

Rather than being critical of “overregulation,” Haijer emphasised that operators should collaborate with stakeholders to find solutions that meet societal demands.

In summary, the EGBA’s report indicates a promising trend towards safer and more sustainable gambling practices, with an increasing focus on personalised customer engagement.

While challenges remain, the EGBA’s commitment to promoting a more sustainable approach to gambling, fostering diversity and enhancing energy and environmental performance is evident in this latest report.