So last week was another standard week in the gaming world then! Last Sunday dawned with the furore around the UK GAMSTOP project and within a couple of hours came the news that a certain Mr S Adelson of Nevada would have been rubbing his hands as a legal ruling on the wire act put a (temporary) dampener on the rush to sports betting in the US.
Two of the biggest issues in the sector, player protection and US Sports betting covered in 36 hours. We should expect little else in the mad world we work in.
We will leave the US for another time, but when it comes to the UK GAMSTOP project it was interesting to hear the rush to judgement and the level of negativity it attracted. This project has been long awaited and seems to have been lauded and derided in equal measure. OK, so it has taken it’s time. Passed on from the Gambling Commission to the RGA (in what in sports terms might be seen as a hospital pass!) it has been in its testing phase since April and in that time a large chunk of operators have integrated it, and over 50k people have registered. Some positives, right?
Well, as ever, gambling is an easy target especially with the press and the politicians looking for something to sound off about that is not Brexit related, and when the scheme inevitably came under the spotlight the flaws were exposed. In this case, the ease with which an individual can change their details to get around the system.
So what is the key to a successful Self-Exclusion Scheme?
Well, if we had the definitive answer to that we might not be blogging but sitting on a beach sipping a cup of Taylor’s finest English Breakfast tea and having one of Betty’s little rascals (it’s a Yorkshire thing).
We do however firmly believe that Data, or at least the quality of it, holds the key. Having dealt with operators across the spectrum over the years it is obvious how the level and quality of the data held is, shall we say, varied. You only have to look at the fines handed out to operators over the last year (£19m and counting) to realise that this – and the processes used across the industry – are simply not up to scratch. And why would they be? Multiple brands, multiple platforms, multiple data bases, multiple regulators, all working on operator’s data built up over many years. That was never going to lead to a simple solution. Then you have GAMSTOP trying to make sense of it all in a scheme that is stand-alone and not even signed off by the regulator yet. Oh, and try doing this under the intense scrutiny of the media looking for gaps and loopholes to make some juicy headlines. Did anyone really expect this to go smoothly?
It would certainly help if operators were to standardise both the data they have and the processes they use to verify it and, whilst that is unlikely, we need GAMSTOP and their tech partners to iron out the glitches and tighten up on verification. However, without the central database available to other countries (we in the UK have never taken to the idea of a national ID card) we have to take more data, from more sources, in real-time and use technology that ties it all up. And yes, we know we would say that because that is what we do, but we passionately believe that only by taking the widest breadth of dynamic data possible and having systems that join it up and cross reference in real time, will we make a success of this and move away from the negativity surrounding the sector and create an environment of safety and trust.
Here at TruNarrative, we are looking to bring our experience of other sectors and add value in any way we can, but whatever and whoever you use, let’s up our game and work with as many of our industry peers as possible, because ultimately this is all about doing the right thing for the consumer.
Expect to take a few hits along the way but if players are to be protected and this dynamic, open, inclusive, engaging and thrilling sector is to thrive and be sustainable, we need to get it right.
ICE is just around the corner, we are attending and very happy to discuss this with anyone that wants to help us contribute.
Have a great week everyone and let’s see what the next 7 days brings.
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