Flutter Announces New Sustainability Measures

The operator’s latest statement is welcome, if a little opaque.
Flutter Announces New Sustainability Measures
By January 04, 2022

Flutter plc—the online gaming giant behind PokerStars, FoxBet, FanDuel, and others—has unveiled a rebranding of its Risk Committee as part of a developing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) blueprint.

The company also revealed the appointment of Atif Rafiq as an independent Non-Executive Director and member of the Risk and Sustainability Committee.

Flutter announced the changes in a tweet, on December 10, which read: “At Flutter we are serious about sustainability. Our Board Risk Committee has now become the Risk and Sustainability Committee and will oversee and support the development of our emerging Sustainability strategy.”

It is certainly a promising sounding statement—but while the words seem impressive on the surface, digging down to find any real substance beneath, has proved surprisingly tricky.

The Chair of the group, Gary McGann, said of the new developments: “The Risk and Sustainability Committee strengthens our governance arrangements for oversight of sustainability matters on behalf of the Board, whilst continuing to monitor material risks that impact our reputation.”

CasinoShield reached out to Flutter for clarification on its broader responsible gaming policies, as part of a series of interviews it is conducting on the current state of RG efforts within the industry. So far, the company has declined to comment.

Compare this with recent statements from other leading iGaming operators and the difference is clear. In February, Kindred Group (owner of Unibet, 32Red, and others) became the first gambling company to declare how much of its revenue comes from players showing signs of problem gambling.

That figure is calculated from players who self-exclude for six months or more, as well as players identified by Kindred’s Player Safety Early Detection System (PS-EDS) as being “High-Risk.” In February, the revenue from high-risk players was determined to be 4%. In addition, Kindred has vowed to make regular updates until that percentage is reduced to zero.

Accountability is Key

It is certainly a lofty ambition, and quite how Kindred obtains that 4% figure could no doubt be debated. But—and this is key—the company has made a concrete statement against which its performance can be tested. Flutter is yet to provide such a benchmark.

Kindred’s Head of Responsible Gaming & Research, Maris Catania said, “Sharing these numbers may not be popular with some audiences, but it will also create a potential chance to have more fact-based discussions and data sharing in the gambling industry. That is truly important.”

The quote was part of an in-depth interview that Kindred conducted at the time. It also released an even more extensive YouTube video where Catania, and Head of Legal & Compliance Analytics, Karim Chikh, were able to further set out Kindred’s goals and detail how it intends to achieve them.

This is what genuine responsible gambling campaigns look like. That is not to say that Flutter isn’t genuine in its intentions—but it needs to be more explicit about its aims, if those aims are to be taken seriously.