Sustainability has many faces and is touching on more and more aspects of our life. Let’s hope that soon it will be involved with literally everything because we have reached the point in time that not a single country in the world is not being confronted with the effects of how we have lived and done business up till now.
No matter if we are talking about energy, resources or human capital, all of these seem to have their own crises going on, but also for all there are solutions on the horizon. Let us focus on the iGaming industry and see if and how sustainable online casinos are possible.
When it comes to multi-billion dollar industries or companies, sustainability in all its facets is usually covered by the term ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social and (corporate) Governance. This way all the traditional ‘green’ topics such as energy, water and waste are combined under ‘Environment’. ‘Social’ covers all matters related to people, but not only those that work at or for the company, but also the customers as well as the local community in which a business operates. Finally there is Corporate Governance that looks at how the sustainability goals are formulated, targeted and reached by including in the core of a business.
When talking about sustainability the first thing that comes to mind is climate change, which is directly related to the emission of greenhouse gases, which in its turn is directly related to energy use. Luckily this is one of the areas most progress is made in, not only worldwide, but also here in Australia where we got to the point that for the first time ever we almost covered 100% of the energy demand with renewable sources.
With supply in order it’s just a matter of online casino’s committing to purchasing this green energy and that aspect of running the business is almost completely covered. Almost? Yes, because ideally also all of a casino’s suppliers and customers would only use green electricity.
Traditionally gambling was a night out. Whether you’d go play poker or pokies in a bar, you’d meet with others and have a good time not only because of the gambling itself but also due to the social interactions.
Having to go out to play also comes with downsides, people with less mobility might literally have a hard time getting there and people working night shifts might not be off or sleeping during opening times. Once there there might be a dress code, which is a form of discrimination, or maybe a bouncer that has never heard of ‘inclusiveness’.
Here online gambling definitely has all the odds in its favour: as long as you can see your screen, no form of disability will prevent you from playing, there’s noone to deny you entry based on how you look or how you’re dressed and opening times?
The only real problem that casinos have with going fully sustainable in the Social category are their responsibilities when it comes to ‘responsible gambling’. Casinos make most of their money from just a small group of players, players who for that exact reason are very susceptible to gambling problems. Technically all the options to monitor player’s behaviour and step in when needed are there, but the line between taking responsibility and making more profit is too thin.
The only thing limiting governance is the will of the people involved, but unfortunately sustainability is still seen as an extra cost. The problem is that it is not necessarily directly a cost, but more a limiting factor on the amount of revenue and profit that can be made. For gambling it is the aforementioned ‘responsible gaming’ that is basically the only relevant factor. As soon as companies take their responsibility in protecting their customers from harm and overspending they could be 100% green. However, good luck explaining such decisions to the shareholders, who care mostly about winning money, just like the players.