Responsible gambling and creating a safe environment for players is a corporate social responsibility for everyone in the gambling industry. Gambling operators have taken steps to promote responsible gambling by tightening checks on the identity of their players, ensuring that underage players cannot open accounts and improving checks on how much players can afford to spend.
The Gambling Commission updated its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice in 2019 to make identity and age verification more robust. It has also encouraged operators to ensure they have a single view of a player’s activity across all their brands.
While this reduces the risk of overspend with a single operator it does nothing to stop at-risk players opening accounts across multiple operators and losing more money than they can afford to lose. According to the Gambling Commission online gamblers have an average of three online accounts with 56% of online players having more than one account.
Historically, affordability checks have tended to focus on open-source data that looks at demographic, lifestyle, social media and other publicly available data. However, these are necessarily limited in their scope because they don’t provide financial data related to specific individuals.
Where an operator still had concerns about an individual’s ability to spend, operators have asked for documentary evidence of income. This is a significant source of friction as players are not keen on providing it and up to 40% don’t, which means their accounts are closed – resulting in a substantial loss of revenue.
Earlier this year, the Gambling Commission highlighted ‘single customer view’ as being a vital component in the effort to create a safe gambling environment for all. Creating a joined-up view across all operators is a significant technical challenge, however, there are other steps operators can take now that underpin safer gambling and mitigate the risks of gambling overspend.
Affordability checks that assess funds in and out of a current account will identify excessive expenditure which could be gambling-related spend at another operator. Regardless of what the expenditure represents, the operator has an understanding of what the player can afford to spend.
GBG Senior Business Development Manager Rebekah Jackson said: “All gambling operators have a social responsibility to continuously improve their safer gambling measures. Taking advantage of new identity technology that delivers affordability transparency to protect players is an essential step.”