CB100: Removing expressions from the gambling industry’s lexicon


Like any industry, the igaming space brings with it several overused business terms and phrases. Whether it’s the constant use of ‘revolutionise’ or a repetitive case of ‘gamification’, there are countless expressions that industry delegates would love to see no longer used.

With this in mind, we picked the brains of our CB100 club, asking them the question:

In 2023, what business phrase or expression should be removed from the industry’s lexicon? And why?

Fraser Linkleter, CMO at Slots Temple: We focus on our customers, so we don’t have much time for corporate jargon. It rings hollow and only serves to confuse users rather than help them.

Anything that involves “leveraging bandwidth” makes us cringe, and we are equally suspicious of “thought leadership”.

“Disruption” was once a word that was quite powerful but has been lazily overused to the point where it has lost any meaning. So many businesses say they’re “disrupting the market”, but are they really? How much of this repeated “disruption” can an industry survive?

What they really mean is that they aspire to innovate, and that’s fine. We do too. But we prefer to focus on what players really want, rather than pretending to be revolutionary.

Another offender is “growth hacking”. Affiliate marketing has moved into a new era. You don’t “hack” growth, you earn it by offering something unique and valuable to the customer. There are no cheap quick fixes anymore.

Raphael Di Guisto, Founder of Silverback Gaming: My suggestion would be to remove the expression “problem gambler” from the industry’s lexicon. While this term is used to describe individuals who struggle with gambling addiction or other negative consequences of excessive gambling, it can be stigmatising.

Instead, it would be better to use terms like “at-risk gambler” or “person with a gambling disorder.” These terms are less judgmental, emphasising that gambling addiction is a medical condition that requires treatment and support.

Overall, it’s important for the industry to be mindful of the language it uses and to strive for inclusivity, sensitivity, and accuracy in its communication with customers and the broader public. By choosing words and phrases carefully and thoughtfully, the industry can help reduce stigma and promote responsible gambling practices.

Kendra Ross, Managing Director of Maverick Games: Two pieces of jargon that make my skin crawl: “actionable analytics” and “new normal”. Why are we collecting data if we’re not going to be able to do anything with it? Let’s not waste our time with vanity metrics, and let’s not waste our breath congratulating ourselves for adapting to a world where action and impact mean more than hours sitting at a desk. Working smarter, not harder is our new reality.

Claudia Heiling, Co-Founder and COO of Golden Whale: “The BI department has prepared a report for that”.

Most of the industry is already aware there is no escaping the power of Machine Learning to help make data-driven decisions. However, when it comes to being responsive to players’ needs and behaviour, creating real-time feedback loops (like with Golden Whale’s “Foundation”) for production systems and taking action as close to real-time as possible will be absolutely key to staying ahead of the competition.

Julian Borg-Barthet, CCO at Lady Luck Games: In 2023, the phrase “mobile first” should be removed from the industry’s lexicon. With the majority of players now accessing games through mobile devices, it should be given that games are created with mobile optimisation in mind. In the past, companies would prioritise creating mobile versions of their games, but now it’s simply a necessity.

The phrase “mobile first” is no longer a relevant differentiator in the industry, and should be retired to make room for new and more meaningful expressions. Let’s focus on the innovation and advancements in game design and technology instead of emphasising what should be standard practice.

Jean-Pierre Houareau, CEO at Live Solutions: The online gambling industry should stop using a phrase found within its vocabulary. Those words, also used frequently in the media and in conversation, are “problem gambling”.

While this phrase is commonly used to describe individuals who experience negative consequences because of their gambling behaviour, it can create a stigma and generate negative associations with gambling. The term “problem gambling” can be seen as minimising the severity of the condition, implying it is a minor issue that’s easily solved when it can really be a situation that’s far more complex.

The term “gambling disorder” is considered more accurate instead and reflects the fact that gambling addiction is a serious mental health condition that can have significant negative impacts on a person’s life. This is why there has been a movement within the online gambling industry to shift the language used around gambling addiction from “problem gambling” to “gambling disorder”.

This shift is in line with changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which now includes gambling disorder as a diagnosable mental health condition.

Some argue the term “problem gambling” places blame on the individual, suggesting they are solely responsible for their addiction. The term “gambling disorder” acknowledges the complex nature of addiction and recognizes how individuals may require professional help and support to overcome it.

Instead, industry professionals and regulators should consider using more neutral and less stigmatising language, such as “harmful gambling behaviour”. This phrase better reflects the reality that not all gambling is problematic and that individuals may experience harm from their gambling behaviour without necessarily meeting the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of problem gambling.

The various phrases around gambling and addictive behaviour can be summarised as follows:

Gambling addiction: This term acknowledges that problem gambling is a type of addiction that can have serious and lasting effects on a person’s life.

Compulsive gambling: This phrase suggests problem gambling is a behaviour that is difficult to control or stop, without placing blame on the individual.

Excessive gambling: This term reflects how problem gambling involves gambling beyond what is considered normal or healthy, without implying judgement or criticism.

Gambling disorder: This term is used in the DSM-5 to describe a condition characterised by persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behaviour and is considered a neutral and accurate way to describe the condition.

By using more neutral and specific language to describe particular aspects of gambling behaviour, the online gambling industry can help reduce the stigma associated with gambling and encourage individuals to seek help and support when needed.

Choosing the most appropriate terminology to describe their situation would be an effective first step on their road to regaining a healthier balance in their lives.

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