Responsible Gambling Awareness Month is in full swing. Odds on Compliance Director of Regulatory affairs John Wellendorf discusses regulatory requirements operators must meet on the responsible gambling front. He also explains how to be successful with RG by proactively monitoring activities instead of just responding to problems.
The focus of this year is responsible gaming for online sports betting operators. The requirements for responsible gaming were very clear in the early days of online sports betting: deposit limits, wagering and loss limits, cool-off functions, and integration with state self-exclusion programs where they exist. Over time, regulators began to place more responsibility on operators, requiring them to create internal responsible gaming plans, which outline in detail the steps they will take to combat problem gambling. The regulators must approve these steps as adequate, and they will actively monitor operator progress.
Massachusetts Colorado and Ohio are some examples of specific states that have implemented new RG requirements in the last year. New Jersey ‘s requires additional staffing to support responsible gaming. This article will explain how a small- or medium-sized operator could meet these requirements efficiently.
Responsible gaming awareness
Both internal and external awareness should be taken into consideration. Operators should educate their employees more often and in greater detail about direct contact with patrons. All staff should be trained on responsible gaming. The training should cover how employees can recognize compulsive or problem gambling and techniques for discussing gambling disorders with patrons. It should also include teaching staff how to identify signs and discuss them with patrons.
In terms of marketing, the materials used by the company should be checked to make sure that they do not encourage irresponsible, excessive gaming, or suggest that gaming is a guarantee for social, financial or personal success. Ads should not be placed in places where the majority of attendees are under 21.
In terms of system design, it is important to display the RG tools and player protection page as well as resources to help with problem gambling. This will allow users to quickly access this information. Recent research has shown that problem gamblers may experience mental anguish following a loss. This is similar to a panic attack. It is important to make it easy for a gambler to access help.
Operators should use their business intelligence resources behind the scenes to create analytics that RG staff trained in problem gambling can use to stop it from escalating into extreme outcomes. Even smaller companies with limited resources can create daily reports to monitor player turnover or deposits, the time spent on the platform and the frequency of depositing, the frequency of visiting RG features within the platform or the cancellation of withdrawals.
Companies with a larger budget can create analytics to predict customer behaviour based on triggers that are known. Staff at RG can contact patrons to offer long-term solutions, and also provide local resources for those who are experiencing problem gambling. Management should review and document the results of this analysis and any subsequent actions taken by the operator as a direct result. In extreme situations, operators should choose to suspend a player’s account if it displays multiple warning signs.
Customer service personnel must also be able to respond quickly and effectively to qualitative crises. Customer service staff are the first line in the fight against problem gambling, as they can communicate directly with customers and view their account data in real-time. Customer service staff that is properly trained can be the most effective in addressing problem gambling, as they are able to speak directly to those who may be struggling. The longer an operator waits to respond to a customer who is showing signs of problem gaming, the less effective the response will be.
Staff should be able to follow clear guidelines for specific situations. If a customer is concerned about addiction, asks about player protection, sees gambling as a substitute for work or shows unusually high levels of involvement (emotional time and financial), then the staff should have clear guidelines in place. Customer service staff can then direct the customer to RG resources available both on the platform as well as externally. Imagine a patron makes more serious statements, like threats to themselves or others. If a customer makes a direct statement of gambling disorder or addiction, or if they mention existential financial, social, professional or emotional problems that are caused by gambling, the customer service staff must be authorized and prepared to take immediate action. This may include suspending their gaming account or contacting local authorities.
The conclusion of the article is:
In the current environment, responsible gaming is a key focus of internet sports betting operators. Operators are required to develop more comprehensive strategies for addressing problem gambling as regulatory expectations change. This paradigm shift includes both internal and external awareness. Staff education on identifying and helping patrons with gambling disorder is of paramount importance. The effectiveness of interventions can be significantly improved by a combination of responsible marketing and intuitive systems that offer quick resources to those in need. Operators can reach out to patrons who are showing signs of problem gambling through proactive monitoring, insightful analysis, and clear procedures. This holistic approach demonstrates the industry’s commitment to creating a more safe and responsible gaming environment.