By Clyde Mooney
Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group (ALH) has picked up a major international accolade for its socially responsible gaming practices, flying in the face of recent anti-gambling campaigns targeting the publican.
At the London International Gaming Awards, ALH took out the coveted Socially Responsible Operator of the Year, competing against the likes of Caesars Entertainment, MGM (USA) and Genting UK, and finalists Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, Casinos Austria International and three time winner Holland Casino.
The judges commented that the pub operators "were head and shoulders above the rest as they continuously make every effort to emphasise socially responsible gaming across the land-based sector".
Speaking to Australian Hotelier, spokesman David Curry said ALH is are proud of the unique and innovative responsible gambling initiatives it has devised and introduced.
"For the last four years, the ALH Group has worked with David Schwarz, a well-known former professional footballer and reformed problem gambler, as its Responsible Gambling Ambassador.
"David provides employee education and customer awareness about the importance of ‘being honest with yourself about your gambling’.
"The program involves working with ALH management to identify opportunities where we can proactively assist those who have a problem with gambling, and David is available for our staff to discuss any gambling problems they or their families and friends may be experiencing."
ALH has produced a responsible gambling video for all staff to watch as part of their induction, including key messages from the CEO, commitment to responsible gambling and key elements of the program including the role of the Responsible Gambling Ambassador.
The company developed and distributed a responsible gambling pocket guide for all its gaming staff, listing the key help agencies available to people with a problem, and key aspects of the code, customer interaction and self-exclusion programs.
"We want to ensure our hotels provide a safe and supportive environment where our customers make informed decisions about gambling.
"Maintaining a balance between harm minimisation and the preservation of the enjoyment of recreational players is important."