As the UK iGaming market waits for the outcome of the DCMS review of the 2005 Gambling Act, one of the most talked-about topics is understanding player affordability.
The UK has been a pioneer of the industry from the migration of brick-and-mortar shops to online gambling as well as the promotion of player safety within mainstream media – yet many would argue there’s still much to be improved.
With the UKGC stating that tackling gambling harm is their “number one priority” and continued pressure from higher authorities, what can be done to ensure that the UK remains to be a leader in the space and avoid pushing players to black markets?
This webinar will look into how suppliers can support operators more by creating better customer profiles as well as the potential changes on the horizon.
- Expectations of the DCMS’ Gambling Act review.
- Affordability and Player Protection.
- Importance of proper data usage.
- Looking ahead and the importance of collaboration across all key stakeholders – operators, governing bodies, and suppliers.
- Warren Russell – CEO & Founder – W2
- Steven Armstrong – Group Director of AML – William Hill
- Chris Elliott – Senior Associate – Wiggin
- Paul Foster – CEO – Crucial Compliance
The host was our Business Development Manager, Daniel Sebes.
Balancing Player Safety with Industry Purpose
“The gambling act is well overdue for an update and both affordability and the marketing side of gambling companies has come into focus but there’s much more to that. It’s vital to make a judgment not one metric like spend, circumstance, or product because if you start doing that there won’t be any competitiveness and ultimately it could force people to look at unregulated sites which are severely damaging for problem gamblers.” – Steven Armstrong.
“It’s the problems that drive the headlines, and it’s often the headlines that drive the policies and we have to try to avoid draconian measures as the vast majority of people who engage in these activities do so responsibly. It’s making sure the Gambling Commission has the awareness and information to make the best decision,” – Warren Russell.
“The real fear is that people will suffer from harsh regulations. The art of regulation is that it’s a structure that drives support for those who struggle with gambling-related harms, whilst allowing the majority of people to play in a framework that enables people to entertain themselves. In terms of self-regulation, it could work but there needs to be a concerted effort from the leaders in the industry to create something similar to a code of conduct that all operators need to match in a given timeframe in that market. There’s too big a gap between tier one operators and the smaller operators,” – Paul Foster.
Compliance and Responsibility
“We need everyone at the table to help compliance, there are many learnings that we can gain from other industries to better secure player protection. A single operator can’t see everything. Just because it’s compliance doesn’t mean you can’t change processes or improve. Certainly, when looking at AML, the decision still comes down to a human via the data you’re handling. It’s not always about the tech, it’s about the people working together on both sides and this same attitude can be applied to safer gambling,” – Steven Armstrong.
“The responsibility of compliance does sit with the operators but suppliers can help with heavy lifting yet bringing it back to affordability and where the responsibility sits, it is unfair to pin this aspect entirely on an operator. Absolutely the operator is in a fantastic position to present flags to their customer base but is it actually the operator’s role to make me stop or is it to highlight this risk? This is the real grey area. Finding that line of who accepts responsibility so important and everyone has a role to play in it,” – Warren Russell.
“If we can create the ideal scenario it would primarily focus on empowering consumers to make informed decisions to control their own gambling. That’s the most effective way to mitigate risk but we do need to acknowledge that it shouldn’t just be their decision. There needs to be intervention from the operators or something similar as there clearly is a need for balance. Historically, although there’s been a real improvement in recent years, there needs to be an acceptance that operators hadn’t done enough to protect their players but if they can step in when it’s clearly unsustainable then we can begin to understand this balance more,” – Chris Elliott.
Education and Communication
“I believe it would be helpful to have insight from the financial sector as they have been working on affordability type checks for a long time but I also think it’s helpful for service providers to realise the difference between financial services and gambling. Banks have high commercial reasons to perform these types of checks as they are lending you money for a mortgage say, whereas in the gambling industry that doesn’t exist as they offer a product for entertainment which creates more tension whenever you might ask for really sensitive information.” – Chris Elliott.
“The industry needs to be open, transparent, and accountable for each part they’re involved with. Different organisations give different viewpoints from their experiences in other sectors. For suppliers to be more helpful in this, it’s about understanding what value you bring to the operator in helping them create the solution needed for the market,” – Warren Russell.
“We haven’t had much chance to educate the wider public on what I or the industry do to protect players. As industry leaders, we need to highlight good compliance news and practices but that is difficult at the moment across every industry as bad stories sell. My plea since joining the industry has been to promote good work, communicate more outside of our own business bubbles and improve all aspects instead of always being on the defensive. There is some brilliant work in this industry and there should be more open discussions as to how we best solve the issue of problem gambling.” – Steven Armstrong.