There was calm before the storm

There was calm before the storm

Summary:

The Gambling Commission expects operators to comply with their player monitoring obligations when the new regulations come into force on September 12th. How they identify vulnerable customers, the indicators of harm they are required to look out for, when to use automated systems and processes, and how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions are all included.

The Gambling Commission expects operators to comply with their player monitoring obligations when the new regulations come into force on September 12th. How they identify vulnerable customers, the indicators of harm they are required to look out for, when to use automated systems and processes, and how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions are all included.

Expectations have been open to interpretation and this is why some operators have been hit with fines for failing to meet standards.

To comply with the new rules, proper mapping out processes and introducing automated systems will be important. Operators can evidence how they are monitoring players and what happens in the event they hit a threshold ortrigger a marker or markers of harm by fully documenting the entire customer journey.

Operators will face challenges in doing this without negatively impacting the user journey and experience, as players are likely to jump to a rival brand if there is too much added friction.

The industry is waiting to see what comes from the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act, as well as the changes on 12 September. It is clear that affordability will be the main focus, and this could lead to operators having to go to extreme lengths to determine whether a player can afford to gamble at certain levels or not.

Even for those using the latest technologies, I can see a lot of manual action being required here and that will undoubtedly add more friction to the user experience.

My fear is that this will push players to unlicensed sites, where there are little to no protections in place. The Gambling Commission is trying to achieve the opposite of what the government is trying to achieve here.

There is a delicate balance

Operators are facing incredibly high levels of competition and it is becoming more and more expensive to onboard customers. They are at risk of fines and even losing their licence if they don’t align with regulations.

It is important to document the process and combine it with automation to strike a balance between compliance and onboarding. The operator’s online sportsbook or casino should spell out exactly what is done at every single player point of contact.

Solutions such as ours hard-wire risk levels and all but eliminate reliance on humans to mitigate exposure to human error. The player’s required action will happen automatically if the player causes a marker of harm. Compliance managers can sleep soundly at night because of this.

A steep reduction in drop-offs can be achieved by automation because it ensures that the player journey is non-evasive. Operators can save money and resources by leaning on automation to do most of the heavy lifting. Capacity to support the small number of players that really are at risk is freed up by that.

The first thing you have to do is determine the customer’s standard playing patterns so that you can monitor player behavior. Different players are different. For one, standard gambling behavior would be depositing ¬£50 each Saturday and placing bets across the games taking place that day. It might be depositing 500 dollars per month and taking bets on basketball three nights a week for others.

Operators need to be able to spot any deviation from the standard player behavior once it has been determined. This isn’t hard at all, it just requires setting hard rules that are monitored, and if broken, a preset action takes place automatically.

This is the reason that automation is so important. It is not possible to manually monitor the number of transactions that operators process. Operators are using automation, but not very efficiently. They might automatically pull a report, but it might be 24 hours after a player plays a game. The damage could already be done by this time. It can be the case that reports are pulled from various departments and require the involvement of multiple people.

Once more, this is ineffective and may allow players to evade detection, which is unlikely to meet the new requirements of the Gambling Commission.

There is prioritising player protection

There are tools that players can use to stay in control of their play. Session limits, deposit limits, loss limits are some of the things I am talking about. The reality is that if the player has a gambling problem, they are unlikely to impose limits or set limits to the maximum amount that they can.

It is great to see operators promoting these tools and encouraging responsible gambling, but this must also be underpinned by cutting-edge technologies that monitor players and intervene if they are showing signs of problem play. Again, this can be accomplished by setting hard rules and using automated processes.

Affordability checks are important, but they are only good when the check is carried out. The player could lose a lot of money once the check is done and that would affect their affordability. They will not know until the operator carries out another check. To know when another affordability check needs to be done, it is important to set rules and monitor players.

It can be difficult to assess affordability, and right now it often requires operators to manually request payslips or bank statements from players. It adds a lot of hassle to the journey and players don’t want to hand over such documentation. Many will jump from site to site until they can deposit without a check being carried out.

There is still a huge need for manual intervention, even though automation is wonderful, and it is a great tool to help operators onboard and monitor lots of players.

Once technology identifies someone as potentially vulnerable, a human needs to reach out to clarify the situation or provide support and help. This is not a gap that can be filled using technology alone.

Operators’ data can be reported on by our Transaction Behaviour Monitoring solution. For example, if they share player deposit data, we have the ability to build a wide range of rules andtriggers around that information.

If operators want to intervene if players play for a set number of hours over a set number of days, or if they change the size of the stake they are wagering with, then we can do the same. All we have to do is collect the data and we can use it to build rules,triggers and automated actions in real-time.