Martin Lycka is a prominent face in the gambling industry. In his current role as SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain, Martin is spearheading several important initiatives that are bound to change the industry as we know it. In this conversation, the gambling industry veteran focuses on his experience with responsible gambling and the tools the industry can use to better protect consumers.
Martin is perfectly qualified to help us understand the industry and the efforts that are being made to keep consumers safe as he serves on the boards of the Entain Foundation US, the American Gaming Association, European Gaming and Betting Association and the Advisory Board of the National Council on Problem Gambling, among many others.
Martin understands responsible gambling and he is a key member of the judges that will offer their insight during the Casino Guru Awards and the "The Best Implementation of Responsible Gambling Tools" category.
Q: Martin, you have tremendous experience in responsible gambling and work with so many esteemed organizations that promote player protection and safety. Are things going in the right way so far as consumer protection is concerned in the gambling industry?
The industry is definitely on the right track to achieve its goal of long-term sustainability. In my view the only way of doing that is by means of rolling out robust RG protocols and offering all our customers the highest level of consumer protection.
Q: Entain is a global behemoth, and you know that markets differ across the globe. Do you feel that responsible gambling standards in North America are different than the rest of the world or is there a universal standard that the industry needs to uphold regardless of the geography?
There is a universal tenet that applies across the board, namely that the gambling industry wants happy customers; happy customers are healthy customers that, aided by the industry, follow RG guidance provided by the operators. Having said that, each individual market has its own cultural idiosyncrasies that need to be factored into any RG program to make it successful. Legalized sports betting and online gambling are still a relative novelty in North America; as a result, some RG systems may not be as mature and sophisticated as in Europe but led by Ontario, New Jersey and Ohio North America is now quickly catching up.
Q: What do you recognize as the greatest strength of the gambling industry in protecting its consumers today? How efficient are the existing responsible gambling tools and guidelines offered by operators?
The key strength of the industry is its technology. The technology allows us to detect patterns of potentially harmful gambling behavior and take swift and decisive action accordingly. The ultimate goal needs to be offered every single customer as individualized protection as possible; this is exactly what Entain’s ARC program revolves around.
Q: Can you outline your expectations from the candidates who apply for the "Responsible Gambling Tools" and the "Social Responsibility" categories as part of Casino Guru Awards? What do you want to see from a potentially winning entry?
I would expect that a successful candidate will have put in place an efficient RG program that sits at the heart of the organization’s CSR and customer protection policies and protocols. The aforesaid program should be expected to focus on practical impact on the wellbeing of the organization’s customers.
Q: What is the most recent responsible gambling project that caught your eye and you felt like it can have a much deeper impact on the industry?
The US facing My Wager Score. A project that provides customers with an elective technological tool that helps them determine their level of affordability by means of instant comparison of their buying power and typical spend on betting activities.
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