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The rising importance of player protection in our industry is an ongoing challenge that the majority of iGaming stakeholders are keen to overcome and gain full control of once and for all. This is seen by many as the key to the future success of our industry.
We caught up with Gavin Berry, CEO of VoX Wallet. An innovative new affiliate-based platform that provides a level of transparency into player data for operators and affiliates that we hope to see a lot more of in the market. In this conversation Gavin shares his thoughts on the issues of player protection in our industry, how well the industry is currently dealing with it and what we can learn from other industries to help create more sustainable solutions.
Player protection has never been higher on the gambling agenda than now, especially during times of lockdown. Do you think the issue is as big as the media make it out to be? Why?
“Player protection aka social responsibility has been on the rise for the past few years, but the abnormal lockdown conditions which we have endured this year has definitely brought greater attention towards addressing these concerns.
The gambling industry has a bad stigma which runs thick in its blood through most continents, and whilst we can blame the media to a certain extent, you can’t paint a picture without the paint, and this is where the operators and most importantly the regulators have fallen fail.
Requirements can only be adhered to if they are there to follow, and up until recent years, the regulators hadn’t set much of a bar.
Slowly this is changing but it becomes difficult when trying to reverse the adverse effects which have been highlighted for so long.
Increased social responsibility is a necessity moving forward, especially with the incoming footprint of eSports and much younger people participating.
It is paramount that iGaming operators grab a hold of this and start to work towards understanding their players on a more personal and interactive level. Otherwise, they will only see a downturn in what is already a weak customer retention level and the fines from regulators will continue to increase year on year until license restrictions are the only option which is left.”
Some argue that proposed regulatory measures such as monthly loss limits are too restrictive. What can we learn from other industries such as finance or insurance that can benefit the iGaming industry in the future?
“Most agree there needs to be calculated restrictions implemented into the iGaming industry, however, innovation is required in order to achieve a sustainable outcome, otherwise you risk driving a large proportion of players and operators towards grey markets.
It’s not primarily the case of fixed monthly loss limits being too restrictive, although that would be the case in some circumstances. It’s more a case that they just don’t fit the bill when you take into consideration the magnitude of factors which differentiate one individual to the next. For instance, a £100 loss to one person could bring greater adverse effects than a £1,000 loss could bring to another.
The finance industry has its own model and has identified factors which are considered on an individual basis before measuring the affordability of a customer’s exposure to lending.
To a certain degree, the same pro-active approach needs to be taken towards iGaming, building out specific KPI’s and identifying risk factors which are coincided with individual circumstances and affordability.
Tools such as these will not only limit a players affordability risk but they can also help to prevent problem gambling if considered in the right manner.”
Innovations in tech, payments and KYC specifically, have been slower to reach our market than others. It’s been argued that heavy industry regulation is the cause of our slower pace of tech adoption. How can the key industry stakeholders work better to improve this going forward?
“Whilst I would agree that strict regulation and the reluctancy to work with technological advancements is a major factor, the word I would use which defines this best is ‘Interoperability’.
If you consider other industries such as financial and health, you will find multiple vendors within each of these sectors that are happy to work together, they share their research and data, which enables them to create interconnecting components and systems which can form stronger networks.
This doesn’t happen within the iGaming industry, because the majority of the stakeholders are in competition with each other and that brings concerns surrounding conflicts of interest.
Many operators have solutions but these applications don’t talk to each other. Therefore, a stakeholder underneath a Playtech skin has no idea what any particular customer habits maybe when they are playing at sites outside of their scope.
How can you truly understand a player profile when you are potentially only seeing a small percentage of his interaction? You cant.
With technology moving faster than ever, regulators and operators need to welcome solutions that are coming to market and utilising AI and Blockchain.
I am talking decentralised data, including KYC and AML documentation and the possibility of something which is akin to that of Experian within the financial sector.”
The Vox wallet is a fantastic affiliate platform that provides critical customer data to both operator and affiliate, with the result being a much-improved customer experience. Why is it so important for partners to have more transparency? How can affiliates improve this going forward?
“VoX Wallet has the potential to be an all-encompassing hub for iGaming.
I believe the possibility of dual-facing dashboards for customers and operators will allow both parties to engage on a more personal level.
This opens up the opportunity for stakeholders to get a better understanding of what their player’s habits are within the industry without revealing critical competitor data. This will include affordability scores based on specific KPI’s and financial information, how much interaction they get from each of their customers compared to the industry as a whole, and the opportunity to drive engagement and increase player retention based upon specific behavioural and affordability patterns.
We will only grant access for customers that have fulfilled the required KYC and AML at the point of onboarding, they will then be greeted with a personal customer dashboard and a magnitude of exclusive offers from our partnered operators. This will help customers to understand their habits, keep a track of their gameplay and engage with suggested deposits caps specific to their affordability and gamification.
Contributing all of the above with an open banking solution within the wallet, will enable a fully transparent and robust platform to enhance the iGaming sector and diminish the stigma which has evolved.”
Editor’s Note: From speaking with Gavin, one of the most significant takeaways from this conversation is understanding that we already have the technology and knowledge available in our industry to create a fully protected and fun customer experience.
The problem comes in communication and the way in which these various systems are sharing information with each other. It’s clear that Operators, Affiliates, and of course customers, can all benefit greatly from increased data transparency.
Hopefully, with new products like VoX Wallet being increasingly adopted, we can see more success in player protection.
This, in theory, should also have a knock-on effect on regulation and allow us to learn from other industries such as finance or insurance where the customer protection rules are able to be tailored to the specific customer needs.