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Published on July 27th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan

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How Technology Can Increase Responsible Gambling

Gambling is big business. Expansion graphs suggest that the industry is on an exponential growth trajectory. Gambling establishments, industry regulators, and gamblers, however, are yet to put up a convincing fight against problem gambling. According to a report by the UK Gambling Commission, over 2 million people were either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction. The UKGC executive director, Tim Miller, warned that the industry regulators were not moving fast enough and needed to do more to address the problem.

However, it is not all gloom and doom. Casinos, regulators, and independent players are coming up with several mechanisms to increase responsible gambling. Unlike their predecessors, the focus is on preventative measures. These include spotting problem gambling-related issues and nipping them in the bud.

New technology-based responsible gambling tools are proving to be a game-changer in addiction prevention. As technology has made gambling more accessible, critical players in the industry are befriending it to create bespoke solutions that avert problem gambling. Here are some of the ways technology is promoting the fight against problem gambling.

Facial Recognition in Account Verification

Gambling technology moved away from ID and utility bill submissions to customers sending selfies holding their IDs. Today, gambling sites now include movement detection to verify if the selfie is an actual person and not a photo of a photo. So far online gambling sites have not adopted facial recognition and other biometrics as part of account verification and self-exclusion, mainly due to the cost and accuracy concerns. However, some New Zealand casinos already have a trial facial recognition program that alerts them when a self-identified problem gambler enters the building.

Machine Learning to Identify Customer Behaviour

Gambling operators are increasingly relying on customer data to determine each of their customers’ risk of addiction. Players are categorised based on their behaviour and gambling patterns. Machine learning and artificial intelligence show great promise for faster comparison of gambling data and identification of trends that manual reviews might have missed. These systems compare a player’s gambling patterns with those from players who previously requested self-exclusion. Customers can, therefore, receive tailored products, such as a casino home screen that shows more responsible gambling messages. This data can also be used to tailor email marketing material to include other responsible gambling options and educational content.

Integrating Responsible Gambling into Games

There is an increasing call from regulators for software developers to integrate responsible gambling into their products from the get-go. Game developers have gathered enough data over the years to know what encourages customers to gamble more or return to casinos and other gambling sites. They can use the same technology and expertise to tailor their products according to a player’s susceptibility to developing a gambling addiction. A setup of this nature, allows every customer to play responsibly within their tolerance range. For example, vulnerable players may only be allowed to play a certain number of rounds on a game before they have to activate a wager limit or reality check test.

Tailored Advertising

To a larger extent, advertising influences how customers and the general public perceives gambling. UK gambling firms spent over half a billion pounds on TV advertising between 2012 and 2016. While little can be done to control what players watch on the television, technology is playing a vital role in blocking gambling-related advertising to problem gamblers. Marketing material can also be focused in nuanced ways to help players stay more gamble aware, depending on how they are categorised. Vulnerable customers can receive marketing material that heavily leans on playing responsibly when introducing new games and products. Self-excluded players may also receive content about tools like GamStop, and apps such as Gamban. Far more importantly, technology has made it possible to deploy age-appropriate advertising. When minors search for gambling-related material, they will receive content that stresses the dangers of underage gambling, rather than a list of the best gambling sites.

Customers and Gambling Technology

While the industry may come up with all the technology they want, the buck will always stop at the player’s feet. Online gambling guides are, therefore, key in setting up gamblers to succeed from the get-go. It may be challenging to appreciate the value of tools such as limits, time-outs, self-exclusion, and GamStop registration if you have not acquired enough knowledge. That is why new players should try to read in-depth casino reviews, such as the ones found at https://www.ukcasino.xyz/ before embarking on their gambling journey. This way they can be aware of responsible gaming policies an operator has, as well as the type of aid they are likely to receive. Affiliations with BeGambleAware and GamblersAnyonymous organizations are good indicators of due diligence on the casino’s part.

Gambling and Banking Technology

In 2020, the UKGC banned the use of credit cards in the UK. While a blanket-ban, of this calibre, may help reduce gambling-related financial mismanagement, more targeted approaches would yield better results. For example, several banks, like Monzo Bank, now offer a gambling block feature as part of their debit card products. Once Monzo Bank customers activate this feature, they are restricted from using their cards in a casino or bookie shop.

The over 60,000 customers who have signed up for this feature have to call the bank and wait 48 hours if they want to deactivate the gambling block. Barclays Bank also offers a more general blocking feature that covers restaurants and take-aways, pubs, gambling websites, and betting shops. Their block not only includes gambling, but also allows customers to stop and consider before making other impulse purchases.

Future Trends

As the need to protect players from addiction continues to grow, biometrics and other new technological developments are set to form an integral part of responsible gaming. Other regulated sectors will also keep a close eye and adopt these technologies for broader application.

Photo by Aidan Howe on Unsplash

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About the Author

Bibhuranjan

Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.



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