The challenges in identifying problem play

The challenges in identifying problem play

Monday, October 30, 2017 Posted by Luke Massey
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The EiG session focused on creating positive play and smart profiling
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The first day of EiG tackled a key issue for the gambling industry - how can it effectively identify problem gambling behaviour?

Identifying problem gambling behaviour among players is difficult for a number of reasons, not least the quality of data available at the moment.

Speaking on the subject of responsible gambling tech at EiG 2017, BetBuddy CEO Simo Dragicevic shared some of the difficulties in spotting the people with issues.

“It is difficult to identify problem gamblers,” he said. “Operators haven't collated the data very well on these players so far, so building algorithms to identify them is very hard.”

He also revealed that even then there can be very similar profiles when trying to differentiate between positive play and problematic behaviours. “Intensive gamblers could be on both sides really. Those data sets could be very similar.”

Dragicevic said that while this area was still relatively new and as such there are a lot of areas to experiment, the industry is now at a stage where it can identify the onset of problem behaviours.

“We can personalise the message to players telling them not to chase losses and we can contact marketing and tell them to stop sending bonuses messages to these potentially vulnerable players,” said Dragicevic. “There could also be more subtle actions such as replacing a cross selling advert with a responsible gambling advert.”

Lonnie Hamm, Head of Data Science at Kindred Group, said the operator was trying more real time analysis with pop ups informing the customer when they might be showing problematic behaviour. Hamm said the key thing is just making sure the player aware of where they are in the session, such as money and time spent on the site.

He also scoffed at the notion that operators want problem gamblers to boost the revenues. “Acquiring a player is expensive,” he explained. “Creating long term relationship makes sense to keep players engaged and not attracted by competitors. It doesn't make sense to burn the players who have problems.”

Chris Conroy, Head of Data at Rank Group, agreed: “There is clearly a perception outside the industry that operators want to get in problem gamblers, but that's not the case. There's a lot of media hype around it that feels false.

“From a purely commercial perspective, why would we want them in our organisation? It costs us a lot of money to acquire and identify them plus the fact that they aren't exactly long term prospects. It's just not what I've seen in my experience.”

Totally Gaming says: There have been huge technological strides in a short period of time with regards analysing problem gambling behaviour and we may be on the tip of the iceberg as to what is possible. It is little wonder that Playtech last week announced the acquisition of BetBuddy as this type of analytics will be key tools for the industry going forward.


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