The European Gaming and Betting Association published a new report that revealed that safer gambling initiatives have grown significantly in 2022. However, I was disappointed to read that the environmental performance did not improve.
In this post, I will explain what the EGBA is and does and give the highlights of the findings and my views on the progress on sustainability in the European gambling industry.
Also read: What is a sustainable casino.
Established in 2007, EGBA advocates for a well-regulated online gambling market with high consumer protection standards within the EU. EGBA's members hold a whopping 267 online gambling licenses and cater to 31.2 million customers across 22 European countries.
The association’s recent report shows that safer gambling initiatives have really taken off in 2022. The data and initiatives in the report focus on EGBA members' online gambling operations in the EU and UK.
According to the report, EGBA members increased safer gambling efforts, sending 45.5 million messages to customers, a 20% annual rise, with 48% personalized communications.
However, the report also shines a light on some concerns. Despite financial growth, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in the gambling industry are still on the rise. In addition, there are also questions about the industry's commitment to social responsibility and gender equality.
Key Findings: Responsible Gambling
EGBA's third annual Sustainability Report shows a 5% yearly increase in customer accounts, reaching 31.2 million, with 74% male and 26% female customers, and the largest age groups being 26-35 and 36-50 years at 30% each.
Safer gambling tools adoption also rose, with 18.4 million customers (60% of the total) using them and 30% voluntarily using safety tools. Deposit limits were the most popular tool, accounting for 67% of all tools used.
Safer gambling messages surged by 20%, reaching 45.5 million, with 21.7 million personalized messages, which reflects a 42% yearly increase. At least 51% of customers who received interventions reduced financial losses in the subsequent three months.
Key Findings: Environmental Performance
When it comes to environmental performance, the industry needs to step up its game. The report shows that while the industry saw a 5% increase in customer accounts, greenhouse gas emissions rose by 12%. This means their carbon footprint is growing faster than their customer base.
Despite some increases in renewable energy use, their efforts to lower their environmental impact haven't made significant progress. Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 12% to 0.77 million tonnes of CO2e, and total energy consumption rose by 5% to 198.5 gigawatt hours (GWh).
While renewable energy use increased by 6% to 137.4 GWh yearly, the industry's reliance on renewables only reached 69.2%. This is only slightly higher than the previous year's 68.6%. These numbers highlight the industry's limited progress in reducing its environmental impact despite its financial growth.
Key Findings: Social Performance
The industry's job market is booming on the social front, with an 11% increase in employees. A total of 63,386 employees were employed in both online and land-based operations. However, gender diversity is still not balanced with 57% of employees being male and 43% female.
In addition, the gambling industry's contributions to problem gambling research, education, and treatment in Europe have seen an impressive 109% yearly increase, reaching €49 million. However, donations to various European charities and community initiatives decreased by 5% to €127 million, which raises questions about the industry's commitment to social responsibility and its role in positively contributing to society.
While EGBA members have made positive strides in promoting safer gambling, the report sheds light on the gambling industry's environmental and social impact.
It is time for these companies to get serious about the environment and society. Efforts to address environmental issues must align with business expansion, and a stronger commitment to social responsibility is essential.
To learn more about what we can do about our environment and society as professionals in the gambling industry, join me at SBC Barcelona on the 20th of September for a round table session on how we can make a positive impact together by going beyond compliance and adapting the triple materiality approach. Click here for more information and to register for the round table discussion.