CRS specialist Tammi Barlow talks about the pros and cons of responsible gambling in the US

Her career started in the Health and Human Services sector, with involvement in substance abuse, HIV aids, and problem gambling issues. She was always passionate to do something good and continue to help people but not being a part of the volatility of nonprofit organizations anymore. That is how Tammi Barlow opened corporate social responsibility and responsible gaming opportunities at GTECH (and then at IGT). 

At Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show podcast she talks about CRS and RG in the US, what lessons did they learn from Europe and Canada, and what issues still need to be worked on. 

Having experience in such companies as William Hill, Caesars, IGT, and now Rush Street Interactive, Tammi Barlow can compare situations both in Europe and in the US. According to her, the US gambling industry is moving in a ‘really great’ way in terms of implementing responsible gambling measures. 

“All of the responsible gaming practitioners that I’ve met, I think the industry is moving in a really great way. I think people are very cognizant of consumer protection – there is almost an unspoken acknowledgment that it’s all of our responsibilities to protect consumers, especially with all of the types of gaming available now.

“I have seen lots of great organizations like the National Council,

the American Gaming Association, Cambridge. There are some really dedicated people and I think this is the one space where everyone just wants to continue to do better.”

However, she also highlighted the need to change certain laws, especially in the context of the online space. “With the new types of ways that people can have fun on different platforms, there’s a lot more work that needs to be done.”

Barlow also paid particular attention to self-exclusion and the implementation of a unified one or two numbers where people can get help. 

“We have learned a lot of lessons from the UK or Canada. So there are some really good best practices but I think in the US we have to somehow modify some of the mandates so that they really benefit for whom they were created.

“Regardless of politics, we’re in a space of helping people gain access to services and treatment that they need. If there’s a better way for someone to do it, and it’s proven that it’s better, then why not?”

In the podcast, the two discussed the technology and human touch when it comes to monitoring and treating gambling-related harms. Barlow stated that whilst algorithms and quantitative data are essential, there must always be a human angle to spotting the sign of problem gambling. 

“Of all my counterparts at different companies, their people that are having these programs are passionate so that they want to see the chats. They want to see the player’s history.”

One more topic they touched on was responsible gaming and gambling advertising. Barlow talked a lot about the importance of balance and self-regulation to stay within RG standards. 

“I think you’re just gonna start to see more and more because you have to be balanced. Regulate yourself before you get regulated. If we can naturally find a way to balance that out, I think we’ll be much better off in it as an industry.

“This is a fantastic industry. It’s built on fun and entertainment but we have to continue to balance things so that we are not alienating people. We are not forgetting that we have guidelines that we must adhere to.” 

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