1.6 billion. Accounting for 26% of the world’s population, this is the amount of people participating in gambling worldwide. That number has been steadily growing year by year, with the average age of players dropping, while the possible ways of playing increase, thanks to the ever-developing new technologies. To put that number into perspective, 1/2 of UK’s adult population gambles. And this trend in growth shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Out of the 1.6 billion, approximately 1-2% continues to struggle with gambling addiction. And though that number may seem insignificant at first glance, it represents 24,000,000 real people, with their families, livelihoods and quality of living at a constant risk.
The self-exclusion scheme was developed to help these at-risk individuals. Unfortunately, in its current state, it has proven to be ineffective time and time again. Though it is riddled with issues in a great deal of ways, there are two major offenders which sabotage the scheme’s intended effectivity.
The Issue of Scale
At this point in time, a troubled person can self-exclude on one of two scales. The first one is self-exclusion in a single specific casino, which is an insignificant precaution at best. The second possibility is self-exclusion on a national scale, which blocks you out of all gambling establishments operated from your country.
Though much more significant, this solution is in the grand scheme of things, ineffective as well. A true chronic gambler can easily bypass these self-imposed measures by visiting unlicensed and often subpar casinos.
The Issue of Non-reinforced Measures
The casino industry has a widespread epidemic of very lightweight self-exclusion implementation. More often than not, these protective solutions are deployed and remain in an MVP (minimum viable product) mode. Though it is a nice PR move, casinos do not have much motivation to enforce self-exclusion. By doing so, they would be willingly depriving themselves of a reliable customer base.
There have been several reports documenting cases where an excluded player was granted access to the casino without any hassle whatsoever. It is important to note that these cases were not isolated in nature and are widespread around the globe.
Our proposed solution to the issue is self-exclusion on a global scale.
Gamblers would be able to waive their right to enter any and all gambling establishments all around the world. To ensure the simplicity of the process, this could be done through any casino, national regulator or any other single channel. The gambler’s request to be self-excluded would be then forwarded to all other casinos.
Casinos would be given an API, through which they can access the database of all excluded players and add all necessary features to their websites.
Regulators can easily sync their registers, protecting both players and the responsible licensed stakeholders in their country in the process.
The Necessary Guidelines
As for any solution, there are guidelines that would need to be followed to ensure the successful protection of all players in need.
- Easy access - The process of global self-exclusion should be fast, simple and easily accessible, to streamline the user’s experience.
- Cool-down period – As recommended by most specialists, a certain waiting period should be implemented before the player’s account is reactivaated.
- Indefinite time – Permanent self-exclusion should be a possibility for players struggling with gambling addiction.
- Instant exclusion – As of the moment of the self-exclusion, users’ accounts must be made inactive, without requiring any further action or confirmation.
- 3rd party requests – Family members or respective stakeholders should be able to request the exclusion of a problem gambler under specific circumstances.
- Call back – Offering incentive bonuses or otherwise motivating excluded players to continue gambling would be considered an anti-protection act.
- Re-marketing – After self-excluding, the player should not receive any marketing messages on any channel.
- Opt-out – The excluded player should not be able to cancel his self-exclusion while it is still in effect.
- 6 months – The length of self-exclusion should be set at minimum of 6 months, with the longest possible option being indefinite exclusion.
- Re-registration – Opening an account after the period is over should be possible with a cool-down period, but should not be automatic.
The Road Ahead
There is still much to do, before our solution can come to fruition. So, you may be asking yourself, just how we plan to achieve this. What are our next steps and goals?
- First we will conduct in-depth casino analysis.
- The next step will be syncing national registers.
- As is the case, those who stand together, stand strong. That is why we will build strong partnerships.
- For the grand finale, we will develop and deploy an easily implementable API.
Want to get involved? Send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss how we can work together to make the online gambling world a safer place.