The importance of having national responsible gaming tools in African countries was discussed this morning on one of the panels at SiGMA Africa.
The event is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.
The members of the panel were; Weldon Koros, Director, Association of Gambling Regulators Africa; Aideen Shortt, Founder & CEO of Lilywhite; and Robert Zammit, Partner at WH Partners.
Koros explained how the African continent is currently lacking greatly in responsible gaming tools and relies mainly on tools applied at operator level.
He argued that African countries need to copy international models, such as the UK one, and eventually adjust them to fit the local model and player culture.
Gambling addiction in Africa
Aideen Shortt commented that the overwhelming majority of gamblers in Africa gamble every day.
“In any western jurisdiction, this would not only be flagged but also stopped. In Africa, this simply isn’t there.”
Robert Zammit delved into some different forms of tools, including pop-ups that interrupt games and remind gamers of the time they have spent playing.
Koros stated that certain tools would come with their own problems, if implemented in Africa. This includes the affordability tests.
“If this system is implemented, they will realize that almost 70% of Africans cannot afford to gamble due to the high level of poverty.”
Lack of support
He added that the tools that are currently in place are ones that operators brought with them from Europe, most notably the UK, but there is no nationwide responsible gambling body.
“The UK has GAMSTOP. We do not have an equivalent in Africa.”
“What we had was gambling therapy, but this was stopped last year. We have no responsible gaming tools apart from what operators have on their end. Outside of the operators, we need to build the system from scratch.”
He added that local directors often lack an understanding of the importance of responsible gaming tools.
“As far as I know, Uganda and South Africa are the only African countries that have a national gambling helpline.”
African countries, he said, are currently focusing on web chat support systems “because at the end of the day you can generate insight and reports on gambling addiction in Africa.”
‘Copy UK model, adjust it to local scenario’
He suggested that companies that operate in more than one African country can set up such systems for the entire continent.
Zammit agreed but said this should be coupled with similar initiatives by national regulators. “This would help them determine the necessary baseline for having responsible gaming features in place.”
Koros said it is possible to copy and paste the UK model in Kenya. This model is evidence based. “If you were to transplant that into African we can re-adjust that to fit the local scenario. It is more beneficial to copy this model than to have nothing.”