(by Paul Pellizzari, Ontario Lottery Corporation).
Greetings from Toronto. My name is Paul Pellizzari, Paul Smith’s counterpart at Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG). I’m responsible for policy and social responsibility – including responsible gambling (RG) – at OLG.
What many readers may not realize is how closely BCLC, OLG and other Canadian gaming operators work in the RG space. Across Canada we all agree on how important of RG programming is for our players. Our shared commitment motivates us to confront and proactively address common issues, and collaborate on joint projects that benefit players, operators and the practice of RG in Canada.
Currently we’re working to create a National Standards Framework for Responsible Gambling (yes, it’s a mouthful). When complete, the framework will help us strategically plan and coordinate RG programs, engage vendors and deliberate with thought leaders, such as organizations that develop independent RG standards. Our work is well underway and we have already completed the some preliminary phases of the project, laying the foundation for work to come.
Before embarking on this ambitious project, we scanned existing RG standards around the world, as well as best practices across other industries that manage social impacts of their operations. From this we are working to organize an inventory of existing RG programs in Canada, and develop standards for key elements, including self-exclusion, employee training, player education and stakeholder relations. Measures and metrics to evaluate and improve upon progress will also be a part of the National Standards Framework.
One thing we’re not trying to do: force all Canadian jurisdictions to have the exact same RG program. Despite the great area of shared ground, each province faces variations on operational realities, such as: large and small operations, particular regulatory environments and different forms of gambling (for example, there are no VLTs in Ontario or BC).
That said, we do share common risks and the desire to address them. Once we have developed the framework, each jurisdiction will use it to guide the delivery of the individual programs in their regions.
The National Standards Framework is a major project that will provide Canadian operators with a road map to advance the state of RG in Canada. The scale of the work is matched by our excitement for being able to help map the future of this field.
Ontario Lottery Corporation