A trial designed to improve the way gambling firms identify players at risk of harm is to be overseen by the self-exclusion outfit Gamstop.
The brainchild of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), the ‘single customer view’ will allow operators of online casinos and sports betting brands to share their customer data with one another – ensuring those at risk of problem gambling are identified as early as possible, and preventative measures are put into place at all sites registered with the scheme.
Gamstop, who manage the sector’s self-exclusion programme, will take the reins of the trial period, into which BGC members have already invested more than £1 million to get it up and running.
The brakes were pumped somewhat in 2021 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent authority tasked to ensure the upholding of data protection laws. They were not happy with the idea of customers’ play data being shared, however after an explanation as to why that was necessary – to prevent at-risk customers from circumnavigating ‘intervention’ measures and spreading their spending across a number of sites – ICO relented in October last year.
BGC member operators will be handed the power to impose a number of methods, from safeguarding messages to temporary account suspensions, for those customers deemed most at risk.
The trial is expected to kick in soon and run until the end of March, and Wes Himes – the BGC’s executive director for standards and innovation – said:
“I am delighted with the commitment from BGC members and the significant financial investment they are undertaking to get on with delivering this scheme quickly.
“We are committed to ensuring the trial scheme which focuses on those most at risk is proportionate and effective. We are getting on with the work of change and once again, demonstrating that despite the challenges and complexities, when it comes to safer gambling, technology is our friend.”
What is a Single Customer View?
While the term may be new to many in the betting sector, the single customer view is a tool that has been used in many other industries for years….and not always for the good of the consumer.
The data firm Experian offers single customer view services to its prospective clients, with the aim of giving firms actionable information to work with – ‘uncovering deep insight into customers and their behaviours.’
The main aim of the SCV in this case is to streamline the marketing and promotional materials that firms send to their customers, and so you can see why some online casino gamers are concerned that their play data is going to be used as a commercial gain for betting companies, and not just for the original goal set out by the UK Gambling Commission back in 2020.
And Benjamin Fellows, a Manchester based solicitor, told the Racing Post he was concerned about the impact of individuals being ‘erroneously’ tagged as a problem gambler.
But the Commission is keen to press on with the trial, albeit admitting that a single customer view is an ‘ambitious and complex understanding.’