In the ongoing debate surrounding the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) review of the 2005 Gambling Act, the topic of affordability checks has played a central role.
Discussing the issue in GameOn and Ghostfoundry’s inaugural ReportOn, industry stakeholders from a range of companies shared their views, whilst also commenting on other key gambling industry issues.
For Allan Auning-Hansen, CEO of CEGO, betting and gaming operators can do more to successfully explore affordability in order to accurately understand how player’s fund their gambling activity, although he acknowledged that ‘operators have come a long way when it comes to responsible gambling’.
He remarked: “This is a huge challenge to overcome; the process needs to be automated without interfering with the sign-up process. There are some solutions already in the market, such as BeBettor, but they are local and as an operator you really need a single solution that works across all of the markets where you are active.”
For Better Change Co-Founder, Victoria Reed, however, regulators’ standards for operators’ knowledge about their customers and the financial sustainability of their users have become too high.
“If the regulated industry fails to meet these expectations, and more cases come to light of customers being allowed or even encouraged to gamble unsafely, the more onerous requirements will be the consequence,” she commented.
“Unfortunately, until the majority reach the level of the best, we will continue to hear the horror stories and the regulators will continue to be justified in increasing their demands.”
Lastly, on the topic of affordability checks, Leigh Nissim, CEO & Founder of Future Anthem, expressed his belief that the industry must respond to regulatory requirements by showing ‘continual progress’ on responsible and sustainable betting.
Despite this, the CEO maintained optimism in both the industry and his company’s ability to achieve this target, providing a bulwark to the potential ‘poor execution’ of the implementation of ‘blunt instruments’ by regulatory bodies.
“We believe that the advent of new technology and the consequential opportunity to personalise responsible gambling experiences in real-time should allow the industry to stay ahead of the game, delighting players as responsible gambling practices evolve.”
Although acknowledging the unique challenges posed by the potential onset of affordability checks, the stakeholders also commented on the progress of the industry so far on responsible gambling, with both Nissim and Reed arguing that although much has been done, ‘improvements could be made’ and operators ‘could always do a little more’.
Building on these viewpoints, Betsson Group’s Head of Responsible Gaming, Eduards Jakubov, said: “As a tier one operator, I am pleased to see how similar operators care about customers and have invested heavily in responsible gambling.”
For Jakubov, the industry has made ‘tremendous progress when it comes to responsible betting,’ whilst also sharing his view that operators must consider different elements of regulation in differing markets.
He continued: “Inevitably there are always differences – of which we wish there were less of – but the truth is that every regulator manages to come up with a specific process which ultimately has the same result as in other jurisdictions.”
This view was echoed by Achilleas Chrysafis, Head of Platform at FSB, who believes the industry is making enough progress, noting that whilst the starting point was “low” the sector has seen some “great progress in the last few years industry wide”.
Chrysafis added: “From our side, our overall management of responsible gambling, the customer journeys involved in that and looking out for potential problem behaviour has increased tenfold. Today, it is very much a key part of our operations.”