The Gambling industry… Behind the shield wall
With the next KnowNow gambling event almost upon us, our MD Paula took a break from binge-watching Vikings and putting together conference programmes to pen her latest blog…
Anyone who, like me, is a fan of the Amazon show Vikings will be familiar with the concept of a shield wall. That’s exactly what springs to mind when I think of the press coverage of the gambling industry right now. The arrows are flying in thick and fast and the industry seems to be well and truly under attack!
There is just a week to go until we welcome delegates to Keeping Crime Out of Gambling and Social Responsibility for Gambling Operators on 22nd and 23rd January in London. We’ll be spending two days looking at some of the most pressing regulatory and social responsibility concerns affecting the industry right now and what’s being done about them.
Yesterday the BBC published an article about failings of self exclusion schemes following a BBC Radio 5 investigation. It appears that problem gamblers are able to work around the cross platform GamStop system by simply changing some basic user details such as the email address.
It should be added that GamStop is still in its testing phase and improvements are continually being developed. Despite this issue, it surely must be a step forward in terms of player protection that the GamStop initiative is well and truly up and running and has received more than 50,000 sign ups since it was launched in April last year.
A Guardian article based on the same investigation pointed out that the Gambling Commission were already aware of these issues and are planning to introduce tougher ID checks, stating;
“We will shortly announce the outcome of a consultation on ID verification and if our proposals are implemented later this year, gambling businesses will have to prevent customers gambling using incorrect details.”
83% of participants in a separate GambleAware survey claimed that self exclusion had actually been effective in reducing or even stopping their gambling activity. A perspective that I know is shared by recovering problem gambler Danny Cheatham who will be sharing his personal experience as part of our panel session – Does Self Exclusion Work?
The self exclusion panel will be moderated by GamblingCompliance’s Managing Editor, Joe Ewens and joining Joe and Danny will be the CEO of GamStop, Fiona Palmer. Natalie Ledward who is a vulnerable client specialist at Monzo Bank, one of the first banks to offer a self exclusion scheme at account level and Jack Symons, CEO at gamban.
Any self exclusion scheme however is intrinsically reliant on the individual recognising they have a problem and taking steps to address the issue. It is just one of many tools used by operators to help protect vulnerable customers. Other pieces of the puzzle will be explored in our panel, moderated by Dan Waugh, Partner at Regulus on what makes a solid social responsibility program.
Plus we will hear from Michael Auer, Director of Neccton Ltd about global limit setting as a responsible gambling tool.
Gambling related harm.
The Express newspaper also published a piece yesterday about Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans calling for stricter controls around protecting young people from gambling related harm. Dr Smith claims that
“Children are the next target of an industry making billions in profits which shows little inclination to take any form of responsibility.”
That’s a very bold and populist claim in my opinion. As someone who actually works very closely with the industry, I see lots of good work going on in this area. There was no mention in the article of organisations like YGAM and the great work they do educating young people about problem gambling. I’ve attended a YGAM training day, which they offer free of charge to teachers, and seen what they have to offer on the education front – it’s impressive.
We will also be hearing from Andy Smith, Head of Delivery at YGAM and Andy Walton, Enterprise Business Architect at Sky Betting and Gaming about their joint project the Scrabit App which is designed to help young people understand and regulate their screen time. The team at Sky Bet dedicated their time and resources to this initiative free of charge, motivated by a desire to help educate young people.
Clear and consistent regulation is another area we need to look at. We will be hearing from Margaret Carran, Deputy Dean, City Law School at City University of London about the study she headed up for the European Gaming & Betting Association on Consumer Protection in EU Online Gambling Regulation. There are a lot of calls for collaboration amongst the operators. However I believe this study shows that call needs to be extended to the various regulators as well.
Gambling related crime.
Above are just a few of the many topics we will be looking at over the two days. On day one we will be focusing on reducing gambling related crime. We will have a session presented by Detective Inspector Brian Faint of the Cheshire Constabulary and Neil Platt who is the Director and Clinical Lead at Beacon Counselling Trust defining what we mean by gambling related crime and looking at some real life examples.
We have an AML panel moderated by David Clifton, Partner at Clifton Davies Consulting. And practical sessions looking at topics like handling an internal audit. BetBuddy CEO, Simo Dragicevic will also be showcasing the work they are doing around applications of AI to identify anomalous behaviors.
We have a packed programme. That certainly doesn’t represent an industry showing little inclination to take responsibility as Dr Smith would have us believe. I’d say there is one heck of a lot going on behind the shield wall!
Join us next week to find out more. Tickets are available. Book here.