Melissa Etherington has an extensive experience as part of the Gamban team where she works as Vice President of Partnerships. She is responsible for helping the company’s outreach to governmental bodies, treatment support providers, and commercial organizations globally, and bringing overall positive change to the industry. Melissa is committed to Gamban’s mission, which is to help consumers manage their gambling habits and reduce gambling-related harm, while helping the industry remain on a sustainable path.
Q: Melissa, can you tell us how effective self-exclusion tools are these days, and has there been a stronger interest by all stakeholders in those offers?
Self-exclusion can be a very effective tool for individuals struggling with gambling to prevent themselves accessing gambling sites and apps. Saying that in this day and age of technology there is not just one action an individual can take to protect themselves. We are seeing an interest in stakeholders wanting to provide more effective self-exclusion options and this is achieved with collaboration. Gamban works with multiple stakeholders in this space, and we are definitely seeing stronger interest in wanting to bring change and enhancing self-exclusion.
Q: Do you think that self-exclusion tools such as Gamban can stand on their own, or is there a need for concentrated efforts with operators?
Gamban currently works with a number of operators and brands to enhance their self-exclusion processes and these partnerships are important. I don’t believe that any tool is a standalone solution in of itself and collaboration is vital to ensure that individuals are offered effective tools that are available when they need them. I think it’s also important to mention that this cannot just be a tick-box exercise and true collaboration is needed to implement change that will make a meaningful difference to individuals.
Q: Speaking of bringing operators into the fold, do you think gambling companies are beginning to see the value of Gamban to bring around a sustainable positive change in the industry?
Gambling companies do see the value in Gamban to make positive change and for business sustainability. We hear a lot that the industry is only ever as good as its worst player and this is true, to create a truly sustainable industry we need more positive change.
Q: Melissa, you will be part of two of our most important panels during the Casino Guru Awards. Can you tell us what you expect from companies to earn your voice?
Action and sincerity, walking the walk in addition to talking the talk. I will be looking for SR initiatives and RG tool implementations that are innovative and impactful and whilst I know sometimes difficult to achieve, where positive outcomes have been measured.
Q: We know that recovery from problem gambling is possible today, thanks to the amazing work done by treatment specialists, lawmakers, and private efforts such as Gamban. What do you think still needs to improve to change the paradigm and make problem gambling a thing of the past?
In one word, collaboration. It’s something that we hear all the time but it’s true. In an ideal world, we could "fix" problem gambling and nobody would ever get to the point where gambling is negatively affecting their lives and tools like Gamban would not be needed. But until such a time, we have to ensure those experiencing harms are offered the right tools and support at as early a stage as possible and this will reduce the total quantity of gambling harm.
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