WrB - Unibet Case Study

WrB - Unibet Case Study

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Maris Bonello delivered a talk on how far the industry has come in addressing responsible gaming in the past few years

Maris Bonello, Unibet’s Integrity Analytics Manager, delivered the penultimate talk at the WrB and, scheduled at a time that most delegates tend to be flagging, Bonello’s energy in her delivery and the informative case study she presented resulted in one of the liveliest sessions of the day.

Bonello spoke in detail about the lengths that the industry as a whole has come in terms of promoting, and investing in, responsible gaming. Her background as a Masters graduate in Psychology led indirectly to her securing a position with Unibet.

This was at a time not too long ago when operators simply did not bother, or perhaps care, about responsible gaming; she was the sole member of her team which was viewed as a ‘necessary evil’ but that has come to be seen as a ‘prerequisite’.

Bonello spoke of how she built one of the earliest systems to detect at risk and problem gamblers by utilising the data that the company already had to hand. She used indicators of empirical studies and developed a scoring system, whilst coupling this with a more humanistic approach too.

Using her Psychology background she approached the issue of problem gaming from this perspective and delivered an impassioned pitch to the Unibet Legal Counsel. She said: “I started at Unibet in 2009 as a fraud analyst. After two years of employment, the RG manager position opened up and I applied. I started in the position in 2011. I’d realised that although there was a detection system for fraud prevention, there was nothing in order to prevent or limit gambling problems.

"What I thought would be ideal was to approach one of the main managers within Unibet with the gambling spectrum as seen below.”

Bonello continued: “I explained to Unibet’s legal counsel how gambling addiction is a progressive addiction, and since in the online gambling world we can see all the transactions, we should be able to detect irregularities in the gambling experience of the consumer.  When managing to do this, we can approach customers with RG information which is tailored to their needs.

“Although I was a bit of a sceptic on how much I would succeed in doing this, I asked the legal counsel if he is willing to support me in this venture. Luckily he said yes and kept on supporting me until this present day.  Having said that, nowadays Unibet has achieved a culture where responsible gambling is embedded in everything we do.”

Maris Bonello also spoke to Totally Gaming about the current state of play at Unibet. She commented: “The indicators that we are currently using in this proactive detection system which we call PS-EDS (Player Safety – Early Detection System) including the communication based indicators, chasing losses and other financial indicators that might show that a person is running out of financial resource.

“Currently, within Unibet we have four full time employees working only on RG and also 20 RG experts within the customer service department.  Although this might not be the case for most operators, one has to keep in mind that we have started investing in RG earlier than most operators. The benefits of having a proactive RG approach is not only beneficial for the gamblers and the customers, but also for the organisations as they can explore healthier and better approaches for customer experience.”

The Unibet responsible gambling team began with one in Maris Bonello in 2011 and is now 25 strong.

Operators have awoken to the benefits that investing in responsible gaming offers; improved customer retention rates over a longer period, a more engaged and motivated staff thanks to socially responsible practices, improved relations with customers and training and personal development plans. Additionally the brand gains a better wider reputation within the industry and outside of it.

Operators are waking up to this issue but they still have sleep in their eyes. More can and must be done if the industry is to further shake off the stigma attached to it and moreover future proof itself against any horror stories to come.

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