Affiliate giant Catena Media has launched a sustainability-focused casino comparison site, PlayAndSustain.com.
The site compares casinos based on four weighted criteria – carbon footprint, charitable causes, responsible gaming and customer service – to create an overall score for each casino involved.
Johannes Bergh, deputy chief executive of Catena Media, told iGamingBusiness.com that while there was not a great deal of data on the appetite for such a site specifically within the sphere of gaming, he was confident that general global trends suggested that there should be interest in the site.
“In the gaming industry there’s no specific data, but from what we do know, about 60% of all consumers across all industries are actively looking for companies that are more sustainable and are making decisions based on that,” he said.
“It’s not always the first priority, but it’s growing with all the trends we have in the world, things like Greta Thunberg, environmental criss, I think it’s reasonable to assume that this will become more and more important.”
The idea of PlayAndSustain came out of Catena Media’s “Dragon’s Den” competition, where employees present new ideas to a jury. The idea was pitched by analytics manager Edward Zerafa and is one of Catena's corporate social responsibility initiatives for 2020. Bergh said this meant the site was not intended to create revenue in 2020, but a decision has not been taken on the creation of revenue form PlayAndSustain after this.
PlayAndSustain currently lists 10 operators: Coral, Unibet, Bwin, Mr Green, Novibet, Betway, TonyBet, STS, William Hill and Bethard. Although Catena is looking to add a greater number of operators, Bergh said it could be a challenge to collect the necessary data for every operator.
“The first obstacle is to collect the correct data, so what we did is we used a third party and we used the annual reports, which are official,” Bergh said. “But for smaller companies, they might not disclose those things because if you’re not a listed company you don’t have to. When it comes to the larger companies this isn’t really an obstacle because the data is there, but if you want to cover all operators, even the smallest, it can be a challenge to collect the correct data.”
Although four areas are measured, Bergh said that he understood these did not necessarily carry an equal importance, and as such responsible gambling was the most important factor in the ranking.
“If you’re an online company your carbon footprint isn't that big but your impact on society is probably a lot more related to responsible gambling,” Bergh said. “So responsible gaming is naturally rated higher than carbon footprint because of the nature of the industry. So my personal view is that the sustainability of this industry primarily means sorting out the issue of people who have gambling problems.”
However, Bergh noted that the players who most need advice about sustainability are often those least likely to seek out a site like PlayAndSustain. Instead, he said he believed that the site can be a useful resource to all players rather than simply those with gambling problems.
“Unfortunately I think that players with gambling problems might not be looking for a site like this as much as players who do not have them, or at least that’s what I think,” Bergh said. “People with gambling problems, unfortunately they do whatever they can to keep gambling.
“But you have to bear in mind that the majority of players do not have gambling problems and they can learn that by playing on the most sustainable sites, actually something is given back to the players who do have problems.”
Bergh added, though, that players are not the only target for the site. Instead, he said it could be a very useful tool for investors, who he said tend to have a strong focus on sustainability.
“What we have learned is that investors are very interested in sustainable companies and they will probably look into this more than players,” Bergh said. “So if you’re a company that wants to grow and depends on investors, this will be extremely important. If you’re a small company trying to grow it will be especially important.
“If I was an operator and there was one place where I can compare all the other operators and then, based on that data, I can define my own strategy for these four areas, I would say that’s a huge benefit regardless of if you’re small or large.”