Frequently asked questions on the WLA Responsible Gaming Framework
What is in it for me?
The WLA Responsible Gaming Framework brings the WLA Responsible Gaming Principles to life and gives lotteries the opportunity to continuously improve their approach on responsible gaming. The principles have set the scene; the framework allows lotteries to benchmark all the good things they have in place. Furthermore it gives an opportunity to differentiate lotteries from other gambling operators who might not have such a sector-wide approach in place. If we as a sector want to demonstrate responsibility, this is the best opportunity to do so.
How much work is this going to be?
It depends on which level you apply for. All members automatically qualify for level 1. For each of the subsequent levels you will also need to fill in a self-assessment tool. This tool is easy to follow and the application material and details of the steps you need to take are all available over the WLA members-only part of the website.
Why does it have to be so much work?
As each member automatically qualifies for level 1 there is no work required. If however, you are interested in demonstrating to your external stakeholders the robustness of your responsible gaming program, you should consider starting to work on any of the other three levels. The level progression is the natural flow of a program implementation as it goes through phases for planning and assessing and then implementing and continuously improving. Thus, you will experience a natural progression when starting your responsible gaming program on the levels you can apply for.
Why does it cost so much?
The costs are to finance the application process (i.e. the WLA coordinator and the independent assessment panel set up to validate the level accreditation). WLA will not use the money for anything other than to run the Responsible Gaming Framework program and to market it to all its members.
Is anyone outside the industry going to take this seriously?
We believe so. The stakeholders we have discussed this with so far (e.g. academics, gambling treatment providers, clinicians etc.) are all very impressed with the work the WLA has done in this area. We believe, however, that in order for this to gain further momentum, it needs the support from all WLA members which can only be given if as many members as possible start implementing and promoting the framework in their jurisdictions.
Aren't I taking a big risk? What if I submit our plans to this independent panel and they say "no"? What if my local press finds out they said no?
The application procedure is absolutely confidential and the feedback you will receive from the independent panel if negative will not be made public. Moreover, the information, tools and guidance documents available for you to judge which level you should apply for are very easy to use and will indicate to you if your application will be successful.
No one is raising this issue in my local press right now. Shouldn't I let sleeping dogs lie?
Even if this issue might not be of interest to your local press right now, we know that this issue is gaining more importance from day to day. Recent developments in Europe, Canada and the US demonstrate how important it is that we stand united and promote a responsible approach in the way we are doing business and the products we sell.
My state/province/country is different than yours. How can you judge us all on the same standard?
The Framework is so flexible in its design that you can adapt it to your specific regional needs. At the same time it provides clear guidelines as to the elements a lottery needs to incorporate in its responsible gaming program. Based on this, we think there is common ground to compare lotteries with each other, and what's more to also learn from each other.
Isn't it enough that we have already voted on RG principles, why do we need a framework?
The framework brings the principles to life and gives lotteries the opportunity to continuously improve their approach on responsible gaming. The principles have set the scene; the framework allows lotteries to benchmark all the good things they have in place. Furthermore it gives an opportunity to differentiate lotteries from other gambling operators who might not have such a sector-wide approach in place. If we as a sector want to demonstrate responsibility, this is the best opportunity to do so.
The rules and regulations governing my lottery can be very different from those of other lotteries. How do you expect us all to abide by one framework?
The framework provides the flexibility to abide by local rules and jurisdictions – it does not substitute these. It is not prescriptive and allows for regional and cultural circumstances.
My lottery does not have the resources or the desire to pursue any of the four levels. What will happen to my lottery?
All lottery members automatically enter level 1. Members must re-qualify every three years if qualification for the next level has not been achieved within this timeframe, however we encourage lotteries strongly to move on to the next level.
Are any of the levels mandatory for Lotteries?
Yes – Level 1 is mandatory for all WLA member lotteries.
Will lotteries be penalized for not progressing to other levels?
No, however they will be strongly encouraged to do so.
If I only have to complete a minimum of 75% of the action items for a particular level to achieve that level, what is the point of writing a detail plan on how and why I will reach the 100%? Why didn't you just make it 100% in the first place?
Because there might be a good reason why a lottery cannot achieve 100%. A given lottery must complete 75% of the action items which apply to them or could apply to them. For example, there might not be the opportunity for treatment referrals in a particular jurisdiction due to the fact that treatment service providers might not be available there or because of other jurisdictional circumstances which might prevent a lottery from achieving 100%. Another good example would be those lotteries which do not sell over the internet. They would not need to provide the internet programs outlined in the framework and would only need to achieve 75% of the remaining elements which pertain to them. Therefore every lottery has the opportunity to explain their specific circumstances and might not be required to fulfill 100% at that particular level. However if they do not fulfill 100%, because they have opted not to progress any work on a specific action item, they have to submit an explanation plus an action plan which states how they plan to work towards 100%. This will be reviewed by the independent panel.
What happens if I don't follow through with the above plan?
After two years, the lottery is asked to self-assess its performance again, if it has not followed the plan it might not be able to reach 100% and will therefore be required to pay the level I fee.
Why is second-party assurance (this does not refer to the independent assessment panel) only required for Level 4?
This is the level which should encourage continuous improvement and will have programs in place that are already matured. When developing the framework we felt that at the implementation stage it would be too early to require external assurance.
What components make up the RG Framework?
The framework is based on the 7 WLA Responsible Gaming Principles. It contains the 10 Program Elements, 4 levels of achievement and action items for each level.
What are the four levels that make up the framework?
The four levels are: Level 1 = Assessing, Level 2 – Planning, Level 3 – Implementing, Level 4 – Continuous improvement.
What does my lottery have to do to achieve level 2 through 4?
They need to complete a self-assessment which will then be checked by the independent assessment panel, who in turn, advises the lottery on the level they will achieve. In order to achieve level 2 a lottery needs to identify resources for responsible gaming, priority action items based on a gap analysis and communicate their commitment to staff and the WLA. The action items in each of the levels provide further guidance.
What are the Action Items?
The action items provide specific guidance on the actions that should be undertaken for a particular level.
What is self-assessment and does everyone have to undertake it?
No – only when a lottery wants to move up from Level 1. For levels 2-4 a self-assessment needs to be undertaken.
What types of tools are being developed to help lotteries adopt this framework?
A Responsible Gaming Submission Guide is available for download on this website.
Have you established submission deadlines yet?
Yes, the submission dates are twice yearly - May 1 and November 1.
Who makes up the assessment panel – members?
The members of the assessment panel include experts from the field of corporate social responsibility.
If I have questions about the application process, its content, etc., who do I contact?
The lottery organization I work for is not a direct member of the WLA; does this change the application process for us?
No, however you are required to submit your application through the member organization to which you belong to. The same application fee will apply.
Have you considered having sample submissions available to members to assist us in the development of our document?
Yes, we did but due to privacy issues, we decided to provide the contact information for each certified lottery and encourage other lotteries to make contact directly with the lottery.in question if they are interested in obtaining a copy of their submission.
Are there any plans to develop a template for the submissions?
No, while we did consider this, it was felt that because each lottery operates differently, one template may not suit the needs of all members, therefore it was decided to provide the required content but leave it up to the respective lotteries to decide how best they want to present it on paper.
I don't receive the WLA magazine and therefore feel that I may be missing out on valuable information about the application process – what are your plans in terms of ongoing regular communications with WLA members about the application process?
While we realize that not all individuals involved in the application process receive the WLA magazine, we encourage all individuals from member organizations to register online at www.world-lotteries.org to receive online updates. We are also planning a targeted email to individuals who have attended WLA conferences in the past year and also encourage individuals to check with their respective lotteries to find out who in the organization is receiving the magazine and make the request through your respective lottery to be placed on the WLA magazine mailing list as well.
What happens if I apply for a certain level and the panel does not feel that our organization meets the required criteria – are we given an opportunity to re-submit at a lower level?
Yes – The panel at its discretion will award the appropriate level based on your submission. Any adjustments to the application fee will be dealt with following the review and recommended level.