Why The Gambling Industry Needs To ‘Flip The Script’ on ESG

In his first column of the New Year, iGF resident Compliance guru Alex Henderson argues that big changes are needed in the gambling industry’s approach to ESG.

Environmental, Social and Governance, ESG, has been a hot item on the agenda for many organisations around the world in recent years.

But–in all truth–it’s a message and proactivity that appears to have eluded our very own gambling industry.

I, for one, have to admit that hitherto ESG has been quite low on my list of priorities — despite my role as a Compliance leader.

And as we start a New Year and begin to write a new chapter in our working and private lives, I have to fess up: This was a bad decision – not just from a professional perspective but also from the personal; as an individual, no doubt like yourselves, who cares deeply about our environment and fellow human beings.

Now, I believe, it’s time to make this my Number One priority.

Across the business landscape, we have witnessed a paradigm shift towards a more Sustainable and Responsible approach.

As a Compliance Officer in the dynamic and evolving gambling industry, it is imperative to recognise the growing significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance considerations.

In 2024, ESG should be more than just a buzzword or box tick. It should be a strategic priority for every conscientious operator in the gambling sector.

So how can we make this more of a focus in 2024 and beyond? And how can we simplify this for our organisation?

Environmental Responsibility

In the gambling industry we have a unique opportunity to minimise our environmental footprint. Embracing eco-friendly practices, such as energy-efficient technologies and waste reduction initiatives, not only contributes to global sustainability but also enhances the industry’s reputation.

We should implement energy-efficient technologies, and only work with partners who do the same; introduce waste reduction and recycling programs and explore renewable energy sources for operations.

Social Impacts

The gambling industry has a significant societal impact, and Responsible Gambling practices are integral to Social Sustainability.

Prioritising responsible gaming initiatives, promoting ethical behaviour, and contributing to the well-being of the communities, where operations are based, are crucial aspects of the industry’s social responsibility.

We need to develop and promote responsible gambling programs; support local communities through philanthropic initiatives and foster diversity and inclusion within the workforce.


Good governance is the cornerstone of a sustainable and ethical business.

For the gambling industry, this means ensuring transparency, accountability, and adherence to regulatory frameworks.

Robust governance practices not only build trust among stakeholders but also safeguard the industry against potential reputational risks.

We can strengthen good governance by establishing transparent reporting structures; conducting regular internal audits to ensure compliance and building better communication with regulatory bodies.

Mitigating Risk

Incorporating ESG principles into compliance strategies is not only a moral imperative but also a key risk mitigation strategy.

Regulatory bodies worldwide are increasingly considering ESG factors when evaluating the suitability and credibility of businesses. Just look at Malta’s Gaming Association, for example.

Proactive ESG integration can position gambling operators favourably in the eyes of regulators.

We can respond by regularly assessing and updating compliance protocols, conduct thorough ESG risk assessments and stay informed about evolving regulatory expectations.

Let’s be honest, when it comes to ESG the gambling industry has not, historically, been a positive contributor.

With gambling harms and AML issues so prevalent, we really need to flip the script.

Our industry should be at the forefront of ESG projects – and be an example to other sectors.

We should make this a top priority of our 2024 agenda.

It can be done.

I, for one, have made this my New Year focus, and, critically, it also encapsulates our imperative drive for Inclusivity, Social Responsibility and the Protection of our Planet.

It’s not just a choice but a responsibility.

It’s time to recognise the transformative power of ESG and make it an integral part of our industry’s DNA.

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