Responsible Gaming and the Fear Factor: Dispelling the Myths

7 June 2002

The North American Training Institute staff had the opportunity to speak with an array of interactive gaming operators, software providers, payment processors and assorted vendors, as well as potential gaming regulators and lenders, at the Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo held in May in Toronto. Two very strong sentiments related to advancing responsible gaming emerged from these conversations:

  • Sentiment No. 1: Everybody sees the need for responsible gaming
  • Sentiment No. 2: Nobody wants to be the first.

To assist those of you who relate to those sentiments--and if you mentally raised your hand in agreement, you are not alone--please read on.

Below you will find the Responsible Gaming by NATI Top Seven Responsible Gaming-related Myths. The top seven myths have been carefully researched by You Heard It First Here Researchers, and the statistics and numbers were crunched by Pick Your Own Results, Inc. The truth of the matter is that each responsible gaming myth serves to scare the donkey dust out of interactive gaming operators, software providers and other interactive gaming vendors.

Myth No. 1

We will be admitting to the world, which includes lenders, regulators, stockholders and public opinion leaders, that we have within our supreme and omnipotent powers the uncanny and righteous ability to turn people into addicted gamblers.

The truth of the matter is while some may say interactive gaming can be mystical and magical, you don't possess an omnipotent power that will turn a person into a gambling addict. Sorry, but you just don't have the horsepower to do that. For details on the complexities of this addiction see:

Myth No. 2

We should wait until the regulators tell us how to set up responsible gaming practices.

A fine option. . . Then you will be required to implement responsible gaming their way rather than your way.

Myth No. 3

We don't want to be the first with a program; our competitors may think we are nuts.

Be brave. Responsible gaming is the common-sense, fiscally responsible, good-corporate-citizen, inexpensive–to-implement, right thing to do.

Myth No. 4

A responsible gaming program is too expensive to implement.

Nothing is as expensive as having no responsible gaming program, especially if your company appears in headlines related to a high-profile story involving gambling addiction. A responsible gaming program will cost you less than 0.0000000000000001 percent of net profits.

Myth No. 5

We've got more pressing issues right now, such as payment processing and age verification.

"Problem gaming is the Achilles Heel of our industry," sayeth the well known land-based gaming lobbying group spokesman, Frank Fahrenkopf.

Myth No. 6

We are just the (pick one) software provider; payment processing provider; hosting company, etc. The operators are the ones who need to worry about problem gambling.

The truth of the matter is any company that profits from interactive gaming needs to worry about problem gambling; it is in your own best fiscal and corporate-image interest to be proactive on the issue of problem gambling.

Myth No. 7

Our company then must hire a Ph.D. psychologist with a goatee and eye glasses to test people for gambling addiction.

Not so. However, if you wait for someone else to mandate what the elements of your responsible gaming program will be, there could be some surprises.

For step-by-step details on how to begin your company's responsible gaming program, please look at the previous responsible gaming articles featured in Interactive Gaming News about how to implement a responsible gaming program doing it your way.

Related Links
Global Interactive Gaming Summit & Expo (GIGSE) 2002

Elizabeth George is the chief executive officer of the North American Training Institute ( For more than a decade, NATI has provided responsible gaming programs for the gaming and wagering industries throughout the world. Its programs include a 24-hour compulsive gambling Helpline service with language translations, conceptualizing of company responsible gaming mission statements, policy statements, employee assistance programs, program collaborations and customized responsible gaming multimedia programs. For further information, contact: North American Training Institute, 314 West Superior Street, Suite 702, Duluth, MN 55802, USA or (218) 722-1503.