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Anneli Nilsson’s advice: “Never bet more than you can afford to lose, be wise!”

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Anneli Nilsson

For our first round of interviews with industry insiders, aimed at understanding the perception of Responsible Gaming among the gambling community, we sat down with top recruiter Anneli Nilsson.

Anneli has worked in i-gaming for over 14 years, covering predominantly roles in affiliate management, operations and recruiting for companies such as Maria Services, SafePlay Gaming, Net Value and Unibet. She now leads her own new venture, Job Matching Partner, where, together with her business partner Francesco Tuia, she helps hundreds of professionals and dozens of companies meet in the fast-paced Maltese job market.

Following below, a few excerpts from the interview:

  • Anneli, what is your personal relationship with gambling?
    AN*: I have worked within the igaming and related industries since 2005 but I don’t gamble myself. I rarely test a site or play a charity poker game. I may buy a lottery ticket 5 times a year but let’s summarise that I am not a gambler
  • What do you like about the gambling industry?
    AN*: The fast pace &, quick movements, never a boring moment. It is a small industry with great comradery between peers. I take this in the context of the i-gaming industry as a workplace.
  • Thinking of the next 10 years, what do you think will be the next big break-through?
    AN*: I think the biggest thing will be a recession in i-gaming Europe. But I think the Indian, Asian & African markets will take off and the South American sphere will properly blossom. I also think we will see the industry mature and regulations falling better into place.
  • Do you think companies should do more in the field of Responsible Gaming?
    AN*: I think we’ve come far already. I don’t believe in prohibiting gambling but the rules and regulations to deal with advertising, and issues such as exposure to people with addiction or an underage audience are being addressed already, but there is still a whole grey-zone of an unregulated gambling market. With gambling addiction being an illness, we need to ensure that we have the tools and framework in place to help people who are addicted.
  • Internet changed gambling, making it more accessible, but this also raised social concerns due to exposure for vulnerable individuals. How to balance the pros and cons for long term sustainability?
    AN*: The framework for responsible marketing must be adhered to and we need to advocate responsible gaming…
  • If you had one sentence to convince world leaders to legalize gambling in their country, what would you tell them?
    AN*: I actually wouldn’t convince world leaders to legalize gambling but I don’t believe in prohibiting gambling.
  • What would you tell young talents that are thinking to start a career in the industry?
    AN: It’s a great industry if you are numbers driven and smart. There are many opportunities, but you have to be versatile.
  • What would you tell your teenager child if you notice they start to show interest in gambling?
    AN*: Never bet more than you can afford to lose. The likelihood is that you will lose everything you bet. Be wise! But of course, this teenage child would have to be 18+to gamble, and I would prefer that they’d play football!
  • Give an advice to current gamblers.
    AN: I’d give the same advice.

The interview, with Anneli’s genuine answers, offer a lot of interesting topics for reflection. Some of which, like the debated increased exposure due to online gaming, the accountability of operators, and the role of legislators, will be analysed more in-depth in future articles.

One delicate matter these days, however, is the gambling habits among teenagers.

The UKGC has recently shared the results of the “2019 Young People & Gambling survey“, which looked at gambling trends of 11-16 year olds in Great Britain. The study found that 36% of children spent their own money on gambling activities in the past 12 months, while 11% did so in the seven days prior to taking part in the survey.

While these percentages are slightly down from the same survey last year, the average weekly amount they spend increased to £17.

Furthermore, 69% of 11-16 year olds say they have seen or heard gambling adverts or sponsorship, with 17% of them saying that these had somehow prompted them to gamble.

As Tim Miller, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission said, it is indeed important to point out that not all gambling style activities practiced by teenagers are against the law. However, more must be done to prevent children and young people from having access to age restricted products.

Several countries have specific regulations to tackle the matter, such as ensuring a minimum distance between schools and casino outlets, or banning ads that include child-appealing characters.

But are these restrictions enough, when gambling is so wide-spread and accepted in society, and advertisement is not filtered to teenagers?

Maurizio Savino

Update 20/11/2019: after publishing the article, Anneli reached out asking to kindly rephrase some of her answers, as the questions had been misunderstood. The updated answers are now marked with a *.