Anna Polatschek Penido has always had a keen interest not only in casino gambling, but what our industry’s activity can do if not managed responsibly.
Penido, who is manager of social responsibility for the Nova Scotia Provincial Lotteries and Casino Corporation, says she was drawn to the gaming industry after earning a double degree in political science and sociology with a focus on corporate social responsibility, or CSR.
“Gambling has always fascinated me for its existence in all cultures since the beginning of time,” says Penido. “And since it is conducted and managed by government organizations in Canada with a mandate to balance social costs with economic benefits—the underlying purpose of CSR—it was the perfect fit.”
It was arguably the perfect location as well: Nova Scotia has been a model for the world when it comes to responsible gaming—its programs, research and technologies designed to add responsible-gaming features to the VLTs themselves making the province a leader in the field.
“Social responsibility has always been at the core of NSPLCC’s business objectives,” says Penido, “and I had big shoes to fill when I joined the corporation, which is among the world leaders in responsible gambling. My role is to manage over a dozen responsible gaming programs and initiatives, conduct risk assessments and identify harm reduction strategies to all our offerings, based on our Social Responsibility Charter to ensure we remain accountable to our shareholders, the people of Nova Scotia.
“My goal is to continue to strengthen this commitment and maintain our reputation as an important player in the social responsibility of gaming.”
Penido has already made a mark in the highly regarded program, thanks to the mentoring of the senior executives in the NSPLCC program. “Some special moments were my first meeting representing the province at the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation’s Responsible Gambling Sub-Committee,” she recalls, “and the group of senior executives’ utmost openness and welcoming reception during my onboarding process. As a rookie with under a year in the industry, it was definitely a great moment.
“In addition, being invited to be an editorial board member for the Responsible Gambling Review Journal (being launched in January 2014), and selected as one of seven recipients of the inaugural G2E Emerging Leaders Scholarship Award, were also very important moments in my career.”
For the future, Penido says she hopes to maintain her high standards when it comes to CSR and responsible gaming.
“My ultimate career goal,” she says, “is to be recognized as a corporate social responsibility expert in gaming, to continue to work towards a sustainable industry, to minimize the harm potential and to help to ensure that gambling remains an entertainment activity with great economic benefits to communities by increasing awareness of responsible gambling as a win-win solution for both players and operators.”