Callcredit Blog

The role of data in responsible gaming

General

shutterstock_84478402One of the themes running through ICE 2016 and inherent through the industry itself, is that of responsible gaming and player protection.  From conversations, which took place at ICE 2016, and from attending some excellent seminars at the show, it is clear that there is a spirit of co-operation and collaboration within the gaming world and a genuine sense of obligation to do the right thing by players.

While this may be in part a strategic move by the sector to encourage self-governance over the potential of further regulation, doing so should help the industry to continue to have the freedom to innovate, grow and gain trust.  At its essence is a classic risk management approach of balance to maximise enjoyment and minimise harm.

A quick glance through the Senet Group founding member’s websites leaves us in no doubt that there is a tangible desire to;

  • Act with integrity,
  • Protect the vulnerable,
  • Prevent crime,
  • Act together

Current practice includes measures such as limit setting, imposed by the operator or by the individual, personal feedback that includes pop ups for time and money spent by the player or self-exclusion schemes where individuals can advise that they do not wish to be allowed to continue to play for a set period.

Whilst these measures are a solid start there is recognition within the industry that more needs to be done.  The recent UK Gambling Commission strategy consultation states their vision as being able to identify people who may be gambling harmfully and that there is good data available coupled with a culture which shares that data with appropriate consent.

However there are a number of interlinked hurdles to overcome before that vision can be realised.  These include:

  • Collaboration between the industry sectors. Whilst there are distinct differences between say, casinos and bookmakers, there is currently little known about the cross-over of players and the triggers that may help identify and mitigate harm.
  • Technology barriers. Current and proposed measures rely on being able to identify and track player behaviour.  Until there is a consistent inter-operator and cross sector method of being able to share data the industry cannot be truly joined up.
  • Anonymity. Whilst the continued shift toward mobile and remote forms of gambling means that there is generally some form of identification check and that it should be easier to track behaviour, there is still a significant part of the industry that does not require this (e.g. gaming machines and retail bookmakers).  With the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive due to be implemented, and requiring due diligence checks on transactions of €2,000 or more, this should remove some, though by no means all, of the anonymity challenge.

The industry has made huge strides in recent years to ensure it takes responsible gaming seriously.  Keeping pace with the innovations in gameplay and technology without stifling innovation presents its own challenges. It is clear that there is some way to go to truly join up the industry, provide the data sharing mechanisms and maintain the right balance of being able to monitor harm versus provision of a leisure activity.

Author: Mel Prescott

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