Tackling and reducing problem gambling remains one of the most important and challenging topics in the gaming industry today.
The Gambling Commission in Great Britain reported that the overall problem gambling rate in the country for the year ending June 2021 was 0.4%, while its own statistics in 2016 estimated there were up to 340,000 problem gamblers in the UK.
Countries have focused on bringing in tighter regulation with Sweden introducing measures to limit online play due to the pandemic, including a SEK 5,000 ($573.13) weekly deposit limit for casino players, lasting until November. While the Dutch online market launched on 1 October with strict customer behaviour tracking and safer gambling measures in place.
During a recent panel at the SBC Summit Barcelona, industry experts on safer gambling discussed the link with KPIs and problem gambling. KPIs, or key performance indicator’s, are crucial for companies measuring their performance to evaluate the overall successful of how it operates.
A key topic was discussing the need to use data to help monitor customer behaviour and ensure against them getting into any major issues with their gambling. Casino Guru’s Responsible Gambling Projects Manager Simon Vincze, believes using data management is the key to treating problem gambling.
Vincze said: "When it comes to the treatment of problem gambling, the future is in data management. I believe data is a really big topic when it comes to responsible gambling and you have all sorts of software and algorithms that can somehow create conclusions and patterns of the gamblers, but the issue is what you do with it as an operator."
"You have certain guidelines and rules to what you have to do to prevent problem gambling but behind closed doors, there could be pragmatical business discussions so the important part is how they react to the data."
"Imagine you are using data to send a player messages that they are going over the normal spending that suggests they might have patterns of problem gambling. This could be something that will have very limited effect on them, and they will still think they have no issues with gambling and the messages are just annoying to them, then they continue to play anyway."
But Vincze mentioned there is a fine line with how operators can use data, even if there are opportunities to use it for a greater good, that might cross a privacy line.
He added: "Is it efficient to interfere or is it efficient to somehow manipulate what that player can see in his casino and reduce the possibilities on spending he has without him realising that? Or is it the opposite of that? And that is the really hard question which links to how far do you want a company to go into your data and how you want them to manipulate it, whether it’s for your good or your bad."
Head of Safer Gambling and Partnerships at Betknowmore Ben Davies, believes the key to dealing with safer gambling is moving away from it simply being a box ticking exercise, and using more human interaction.
Davies said: "We need to move away from just a box ticking exercise with safer gambling and have a focus on the individual. When we talk about KPIs we talk about numbers, we generate targets and try to hit it. When we’re talking about safer gambling, this is more than just a number and there is a real danger if we have just a number in mind, that once we achieve the KPI of hitting a certain about of interactions and number of people an operator helps, there maybe an element of switching off and thinking we’ve done our part."
"What we need is a wider view to look at each individual and making sure that customer gets what they need. While it will be hard to create a KPI when this number will vary day-to-day, there needs to be flexibility to do the right thing for the customer and treating them as a human being. Having that understanding and empathy with the customer and doing things for the right reason is probably one of the only KPI’s that we need to focus on."
For Paul Foster, the President of the Gibraltar Betting & Gaming Association, a global code of conduct is essential in using data to help protect players.
Foster stated: "The online gaming industry is still very young 22 or 23 years old and it isn’t a mature industry therefore there isn’t mature regulation out there. While there probably isn’t an opportunity to have a central regulation, there is an opportunity to have a central code of conduct where every company worldwide can sign up to where we can get single customer view and shared data. That is where we need to be heading to and I think that can be led by the regulator’s as well as the operators. Everybody needs to get on board and make the change if we are really going to prevent harm for our players."
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