There’s no doubt that player protection is critical to the future success of our industry. Temporary measures brought in recently by the government, plus the soon to be released Gambling Act 2005 Review, means that the pressure for operators to implement effective responsible gambling strategies are higher than ever. But the question is, how can its effectiveness be truly measured?
Rasmus Kjaergaard, CEO of Mindway AI believes that the key to success is in creating objective criteria. We caught up with him to hear more about this. We also explored how we, as an industry, can create the most effective player protection strategies, the key role third party solutions will play and what we can expect from the future.
National lockdowns have made the issue of player protection even more critical to our industry’s survival than ever before. What can operators do to get ahead of the regulation curve and prevent even more restrictive measures such as advertising bans?
“I think it is important to give responsible gambling sufficient strategic focus. For operators that would mean to take a proactive stance and exceed what is expected regarding detection and intervention in particular. Walk the talk, so to speak. This applies to large as well as small operators. Even though large operators have greater resources to develop and implement sophisticated solutions, there are state-of-the-art solutions that can be implemented without engaging in extensive development projects.”
Prevention is always better than cure. What can operators do to detect vulnerable or problem gamblers at the earliest stage possible? What are the best intervention strategies once a problem has been detected?
“Prevention essentially relies on early detection and mitigation. Early signs of emerging problem gambling come in many different forms and it is typically not isolated incidents or characteristics but rather a subtle combination of elements that may go undetected if considered individually.
The foundation for Mindway’s Gamescanner is an expert psychologist assessment of combined gambling behaviour.
Rather than relying on fixed categories and thresholds, introducing the human factor means Mindway’s Gamescanner goes beyond the limited set of ‘popular’ risk markers and dogmatic detection. It is instead open to any behaviour which instinctively appears odd in the eyes of trained professionals who specialize in understanding and treating disordered gambling.”
Many industry commentators were opposed to the temporary measures imposed in the industry such as loss limits because different players can afford to lose different amounts. Are affordability checks the best way forward and how easy is it to implement this process going forward?
“Affordability checks is a favourable safety mechanism ultimately protecting customers from overspending money.
But problem gambling is more than that, money is just one of the elements, and moreover for customers with several accounts loss limits do not offer the intended protection.
Problem gambling is based on faulty decision processes, risk perception and impulsivity in the brain.
Therefore the better an individual’s decision making can be understood, the better the basis for evaluating the individual’s propensity to develop a gambling addiction.
Mindway AI offers a scientifically based game that in a few minutes objectively uncovers the different elements in a participant’s gambling style and evaluates the level of sustainability. Results are presented immediately to the customer, and may also be provided to the operator.
This is a unique opportunity to educate individuals, informing them of aspects of the decision making that may turn problematic later on. The game may be offered on-demand or requested by the operator in the event of a customer exceeding limits or showing other signs of potentially problematic behaviour.”
Different operators may have their own criteria or framework for detecting and intervening with problem gambling. Some believe that in the future this should be objective criteria proposed from independent 3rd parties. How do you think this would impact the future industry?
“The challenge with operators defining their own criteria is that they don’t necessarily apply the very criteria that can reveal whether a gambler actually has gambling problems. Typical things looked at are self-exclusion, money spent – these may not show the true picture.
The concept of an independent 3rd party is very much one we believe in and we think will define the future in the gambling industry. That’s why we have had an independent 3rd party, GLI, test and validate the performance of GameScanner.
For operators, it is even more crucial to show their level of responsibility by having a 3rd party either provide them with RG solutions or validate their approach and thus avoid the situation of the fox guarding the henhouse.”
Editor’s Note: It’s clear, from speaking with Rasmus, that it will be our industry’s ability to understand the science behind customer behaviour and take advantage of tech built on this foundation that will finally allow us to manage payer protection effectively.
Rasmus believes that to be truly responsible operators need to demonstrate their integrity by allowing a third party with objective gaming standards to validate their operations. Innovative products such as Mindway AI’s GameScanner provide operators the opportunity to see a true, unfiltered analysis of their players activity, encouraging prevention rather than cure. We look forward to seeing more industry partnerships with solutions like this in the future.