Player protection body trained 268 members of staff on their home ground last year London, 17 January 2011 - In her responsible gambling reportage to eCOGRA's Independent Directors this month, Fair Gaming Advocate Tex Rees reveals that last year the player protection organisation carried out responsible gambling training at operator bases instead of at its London head office. Eight international operator and software provider bases were visited by the eCOGRA team for the full day sessions, which trained a total of 268 employees, Rees reported. Typical training sessions included: Problem gambling awareness Social responsibility Responsible gambling regulations and requirements Interaction with the player Dealing with problem gamblers "We used to host the training at a single location with a small number of delegates attending from a number of different operators," Rees notes. "The delegates were then tasked with training their staff when they returned to their companies. "We now provide this important training at operators' sites as a far more cost effective way to reach more employees directly and properly train those who are on the front line and are most likely to initially deal with problem gamblers. "This also allows staff to discuss problems they have experienced in specific circumstances and receive professional feedback. The training is designed particularly for staff who interact with customers, such as call centre representatives and VIP department employees, but is also of value to staff in the marketing, retention, fraud & risk departments," she said. "Delivering the training at the operator’s premises additionally helps us to customise the training to the operator’s brands and to meet any specific needs that have been noted at that level." Taking the initiative to the front line has been a popular move, according to a number of complimentary assessments from operators. A typical report from a Betclic employee attending the course assessed the course as being informative and interesting. "It definitely deepened my understanding of spotting the triggers for problem gambling and confirmed the importance of making available a range of responsible gambling tools for vulnerable players," the delegate wrote. Andrew Beveridge, chief executive officer of eCOGRA, said that training staff to deal professionally and sensitively with responsible gambling issues was a critical element in any gambling environment, and was regarded as a priority in the eCOGRA standards for best operational practice. "The percentage of gamblers who develop a problem may be relatively small - around 2 percent - but these are vulnerable members of society and they deserve appropriate and sympathetic but firm treatment by properly trained staff," he said. "These training initiatives have proved increasingly popular, and we expect to extend our coverage in this area further in the future."