The Future of Responsible Gaming: Insights from Dr. Jennifer Shatley, Executive Director of ROGA

14 min read

Leading the Way in Responsible Gaming

In an RG.org exclusive interview with Dr. Jennifer Shatley, the Executive Director of the Responsible Online Gaming Association (ROGA), we explore the future of responsible gambling, the innovative strategies in play, and the collaborative efforts that shape the industry's approach to ensuring a safe and enjoyable gambling environment.

On the Future of Responsible Gaming

RG.org - “Dr. Shatley, as you steer ROGA into the future, what innovative technologies or methodologies do you see playing a pivotal role in advancing responsible gaming practices? How do you envision these innovations changing the landscape of online and land-based gambling?"

“ROGA is committed to using independent research to drive responsible gaming education and awareness.”

Dr. Shatley - "The formation of ROGA represents a substantial investment in responsible gaming, with seven of the largest online gaming operators in the United States – bet365, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, Hard Rock Digital, and PENN Entertainment – coming together to promote responsible gaming. These seven members have invested more than $20 million to support this mission through independent research, promoting evidence-based best practices, and driving consumer and industry education and awareness efforts.

In forming ROGA, we decided to align our goals under our five core pillars, which will serve as the basis for executing our mission:

  1. Research and Education: Research will shape our efforts to drive responsible gaming education and awareness, both for the industry and consumer audiences. This will inform initiatives ranging from encouraging engagement with responsible gaming tools to improving advertising and marketing practices. Our goal is to promote evidence-based best practices that can be adopted across the industry.
  2. Evidence-Based Best Practices: Promoting evidence-based best practices is fundamental to our mission. We aim to ensure that these practices, informed by comprehensive research, are adopted widely within the industry, enhancing the overall effectiveness of responsible gaming initiatives.
  3. Independent Certification: We aim to establish an independent certification program to assess members' responsible gaming efforts, providing operators with an objective evaluation of their policies and procedures. This certification will serve as a benchmark for responsible gaming standards across the industry.
  4. Information Sharing: Creating an independent database to facilitate information sharing and allow for industry-wide protection of consumers is a critical component of our mission. This will ensure that responsible gaming strategies are informed by the latest data and trends, enabling more effective protection measures.
  5. Industry Collaboration: We recognize that responsible gaming is best addressed collaboratively. By fostering collaboration across different sectors within the gaming industry, from software developers to end-users, we aim to enhance responsible gaming practices through joint efforts and shared resources. This collective approach will help us push the field forward and amplify the impact of our initiatives.

On Inter-Industry Collaboration

RG.org - “Considering the various stakeholders in the gaming industry, from software developers to end-users, how does ROGA plan to foster collaboration across different sectors to enhance responsible gaming practices? Could you share any strategies or upcoming initiatives aimed at bridging gaps between these entities?”

“Responsible gaming is best addressed collaboratively, which is why ROGA was formed.”

Dr. Shatley - “The industry is always looking for new, innovative methods and tools to help educate, equip, and empower players to manage their play while enjoying the entertainment of online gaming. While each member company already has responsible gaming programs in place, there is a broad understanding that responsible gaming is best addressed collaboratively, which is why ROGA was formed.”

We understand that collaboration and engagement among various organizations are crucial. Everyone involved in the online sports betting and iGaming industry – whether they directly interact with a player or not – has a role in promoting responsible gaming. We welcome opportunities to work together to help amplify each other’s efforts and push the field forward.

Core Sports Bettors Characteristics

American Gambling Association (AGA) - Consumer Movement Toward Sports Betting

Addressing Youth Gambling

RG.org - "With the rise of digital gaming platforms, younger demographics are increasingly exposed to gambling activities. What targeted strategies is ROGA developing to address responsible gaming among this particularly vulnerable group?"

“One of our main goals is to promote education and awareness campaigns across a variety of audiences, including young adults.”

Dr. Shatley - “Responsible gaming is especially crucial among younger demographics. One of the main goals of ROGA is to promote education and awareness campaigns across various audiences, including young adults. Our research efforts will help us identify evidence-based best practices for effectively engaging this age group around responsible gaming.”

Cultural and Regional Adaptations

RG.org - "Responsible gaming strategies often require adaptation to fit different cultural and legal frameworks across North America. How does ROGA tailor its programs to meet diverse regional needs while maintaining a consistent standard of responsibility across the industry?"

Dr. Shatley - “The diverse regional needs and legal frameworks further highlight the need for responsible gaming to be a collaborative effort. ROGA's members are committed to working together to improve and promote responsible gaming practices that can be applied industry-wide. We plan to create an independent clearinghouse, a database that will facilitate information sharing related to self-exclusion programs that can be applied across the industry.”

On Measuring Success

RG.org - "Could you elaborate on how ROGA measures the effectiveness of its responsible gaming initiatives? What metrics or indicators do you find most revealing about the success of your strategies?"

“Research must shape our efforts to drive responsible gaming education and awareness.”

Dr. Shatley - "Research is fundamental to driving responsible gaming education and awareness. Responsible gaming is a relatively young field in terms of research, especially online gaming. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of evidence-based best practices that enhance existing responsible gaming programs and help develop new initiatives and tools.

We aim to determine if responsible gaming practices that have worked in land-based casinos can be adopted for online gaming and identify new approaches that may be more effective for online platforms. Utilizing research, data analysis, and player feedback is crucial for measuring success and gauging the efficacy of our initiatives."

Ethical Marketing in Gambling

RG.org - "In the context of responsible gaming, how should the industry approach marketing to ensure it promotes healthy gambling habits while still engaging customers effectively? What role does ROGA play in shaping these marketing standards?"

Marketing_Strategies_Matrix

Example of Potential Marketing Strategies Matrix

Dr. Shatley - “Improving and encouraging responsible advertising and marketing practices is a priority for ROGA. Ensuring that gaming remains a fun and recreational experience, as intended, is key to our mission. We will focus on research to develop strategies that promote responsible gaming through ethical marketing.”

On the Impact of Sports Betting

RG.org - "With sports betting growing rapidly across North America, what specific challenges does this pose for responsible gaming? How is ROGA addressing these challenges differently from traditional casino gambling?"

“Legalized online gaming in the United States is still in its infancy, yet it has expanded rapidly.”

Dr. Shatley - “The rapid expansion of legalized online gaming in the United States presents both a responsibility and an opportunity to better understand how to use evidence-based practices to promote responsible gaming. The principles for promoting responsible gaming are fundamentally the same across different gaming verticals. However, online platforms offer advantages for responsible gaming programs, such as readily accessible tools for players to set personal limits and seamless integration of responsible gaming efforts into the customer experience.”

Collaborative Research

RG.org - "ROGA has committed to funding independent research. Can you share insights on any current or planned research partnerships? How do these collaborations enhance ROGA’s mission and the broader responsible gaming agenda?"

“ROGA’s mission is grounded in independent and academic research to understand better what responsible gaming tools, education, and information are successful.”

Dr. Shatley - “ROGA's mission is grounded in independent and academic research to understand better what responsible gaming tools, education, and information are successful. We are in the initial phases of defining our research agenda and identifying research partners, and we hope to announce some initiatives in the coming weeks.”

Cross-Platform Player Tracking

RG.org - "The development of an independent data clearinghouse could revolutionize how operators track and support at-risk players across platforms. Can you discuss the technological and privacy challenges involved in creating such a system and how ROGA intends to overcome them?"

Dr. Shatley - “Facilitating information sharing across the industry is one of our biggest challenges and a critical part of our mission. However, we are encouraged by the buy-in from our member companies to create a comprehensive, industry-wide database. It is too early to discuss specific strategies, but any data and information sharing will be done in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.”

Feedback from the Field

RG.org - "How does ROGA integrate feedback from both players and operators into its ongoing responsible gaming initiatives? Could you give an example where such feedback has led to significant changes in your strategies?"

Dr. Shatley - “ROGA is committed to working alongside players, operators, regulators, and other relevant parties to establish best practices. Engagement is key, which is why we meet with key stakeholders and attend industry events to hear and evaluate diverse perspectives. This ongoing dialogue ensures that our strategies are informed by real-world insights and feedback.”

Embracing a Responsible Future

As our conversation with Dr. Jennifer Shatley comes to a close, it is clear that ROGA is at the forefront of transforming the landscape of responsible gaming in North America. The organization's commitment to using independent research, fostering collaboration, and promoting evidence-based practices sets a new standard for the industry. The initiatives ROGA is spearheading are not only innovative but essential in ensuring a safe, enjoyable, and responsible gaming environment for all bettors.

At RG.org, we share in ROGA's mission and vision. Our goal is to provide transparent, data-driven, and objective information to support responsible gaming. We believe in the power of education, awareness, and ethical practices to create a healthier gaming ecosystem. By highlighting the work of organizations like ROGA, we aim to amplify these efforts and contribute to the broader mission of promoting responsible gaming across North America.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Shatley for sharing her invaluable insights and for her unwavering dedication to advancing responsible gaming practices. Her leadership and the collaborative efforts of ROGA's member organizations are paving the way for a more responsible and sustainable gaming industry.

As we look to the future, it is imperative that all stakeholders – from operators to regulators to bettors – continue to work together to uphold the principles of responsible gambling. At RG.org, we remain committed to supporting these initiatives and fostering a culture of responsibility and safety in the gaming community.

Thank you, Dr. Shatley, for your time and for your contributions to this vital cause. Your work inspires us all to strive for excellence in promoting responsible gaming.

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