Saturday, 8 January 2011

Helping lotteries and operators move up the responsible gaming value chain

At the core of sustainability, transparency and trust within the online gambling industry is the concept of responsible gaming. Whilst the term is now commonly used within the industry what it exactly encapsulates is open to interpretation. Changing attitudes in society and industry towards the importance of sustainability coupled with advances in technology are having a major impact on how lotteries and operators perceive the responsible gaming value chain and how it can enhance the playing experience to better inform and protect players.

The majority of regulated and established operators are now offering what is termed ‘Level 1’ responsible gaming features. We have used the term Level 1 following an interview with Dr. Jonathan Parke from Salford University in the summer of 2010 as part of Bet Buddy’s research at City University London. Level 1 responsible gaming includes i) Core Responsible Gaming Features such as setting credit limits, ii) Age Verification, iii) Fair Games and Payments and iv) Safe and Secure Systems. Even though we believe the industry has done a good job in reaching this level (which is now considered a hygiene factor), there still remain inconsistencies in how these practices are applied.

Whilst the industry continues to bed-in and consolidate the Level 1 responsible gaming value chain, in parallel the past 2 years has witnessed the birth of more advanced responsible gaming tools and features. These are becoming increasingly adopted across the industry, such as leveraging more sophisticated player self‐tests that provide detailed player feedback and operator statistical feedback and using data mining and analytics technology to undertake player behavioural analysis across all operator channels (including call centres). At Bet Buddy we believe the need to help customers make better and more informed choices about their health and wealth and the need to retain customers in an increasingly competiive operating envrionment will see leading operators start to implement more sophisticated tools and features to help their players.

Another area we believe will continue to grow is cross‐operator collaboration, specifically sharing data to help protect players. Whilst operators have been doing this to help prevent fraudulent transactions in sports betting, we will see more operators in future sharing anonymised player data in areas such as self-exclusion through the use of safe and secure services to help protect known vulnerable players.  The development and deployment of the advanced responsible gaming value chain is a logical progression for an industry that continues to grow and mature.

Bet Buddy’s manifesto is to develop advanced responsible gambling software for every online gambling operator in the world to enable operators to better protect their players. Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing in greater detail how our products (PowerCrunch, Advisor, QuickTest and VeriPlay) are helping operators move beyond Level 1 and further up the responsible gaming value chain to deliver state-of-the-art gaming experiences for their players.