Don’t bet on your players’ affordability


Adam Doyle, Head of Gaming at TruNarrative, says that AML, fraud and affordability must be prioritised if operators are to fully leverage the potential of major sports events such as Cheltenham and the Grand National.

Major sporting events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National are seen by sportsbook operators as providing a significant opportunity to engage new customers and drive them to sign-up to and wager at their brand or brands.

This often leads to a marketing and bonusing contest as operators look to offer more incentives and greater value than their rivals in order to secure the largest share of wallet.

Where there are opportunities, there are also challenges, and big betting events give operators their fair share of headaches. This not only relates to ensuring a sensible ROI on the money invested into marketing and bonusing, but also around AML, fraud and compliance.

Big betting events mean big volume

Big betting events present unique challenges that operators must be prepared for if they are to onboard new customers and carry out the due diligence and affordability checks required of them by the UK Gambling Commission.

These challenges include an influx of new customers signing up to a sportsbook in a short period of time, a higher volume of bettors active across the book, as well as more big-money bets than they would receive during standard sporting events.

During the Grand National, for example, it is not unheard of for operators to take a months’ worth of bets – both in terms of volume and value – in a single day.

Regardless of this increase in volume and value, the Gambling Commission still expects operators to carry out player ID checks, assess affordability, monitor for money laundering and fraud as well as tracking individual player betting activity to prevent problem gambling.

Out of sight out of mind is not the right approach

The Gambling Commission is now all over operators to prove they have performed checks for AML, fraud and especially affordability, to ensure that players can afford their bets before they go on to wager larger amounts.

In response to the increased scrutiny around affordability, operators are carrying out checks when players hit certain thresholds, but in most cases, they are doing this manually. Given the surge in volume around major events, this is an almost impossible task.

Taking the right approach

This is why operators must look to automate the process of affordability. They should also take a risk-based assessment of what they need to see from a customer when they hit different levels based on spend and over a set time scale.

Once a customer has deposited a significant amount – whether over a single deposit or accumulated over several – operators must then ask for documentation. By having automated affordability checks throughout the customer journey, operators can ensure the majority of players have a frictionless experience and only have to provide documents when they hit a certain threshold of spend.

The Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National are renowned big betting events, but with the Gambling Commission putting operators under the microscope when it comes to AML, fraud and affordability, having the right solutions and processes in place is critical. After all, the regulator has recently fined big-name operators due to failings of this nature.

In order to avoid future regulatory fines, operators will need to bring affordability assessments into their customer journeys, and maintain their ability to safely onboard a large number of customers in a short space of time.

While betting adds another layer of excitement to major sports events, the one thing operators must not bet on is their players’ ability to afford their bets. To do that, they need to put in place best-practice processes combined with state-of-the-art technologies.

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