For the gaming industry, navigating the regulatory landscape is an ongoing challenge, but it also presents a new opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to player protection and responsible gambling. The Government's 2023 whitepaper on
gaming has proposed significant reforms, focusing on identity verification, affordability, and transparency of spend, particularly in the online gaming space.
As the industry evolves, gaming companies must adapt and embrace new measures which will support vulnerable consumers, while at the same time, ensuring a seamless and friction-free experience.
Better Data Insights
For both the Government and gambling operators, finding the right balance between players' freedom and financial autonomy while safeguarding the most vulnerable individuals is crucial.
Approximately there are 2.2 million at-risk or problem gamers in the UK, according to the UK Health Security Agency, while latest statistics from the Gambling Commission found 44% of adults gamble. It is evident that operators must take steps to prevent
customers from crossing the line between enjoyable gaming and addiction or financial distress.
One game-changing recommendation is for the gambling operators to access relevant financial information from credit referencing agencies (CRAs), such as Experian, to enable more effective financial risk checks. The Information Commissioner’s Office has
now confirmed GDPR does allow credit reference agencies to share personal information with gambling operators for the purposes of enabling financial risk checks, subject to appropriate safeguards being in place.
In accordance with GDPR, the information that is shared must be limited to what is necessary, and, in response, the Gambling Commission is now consulting with the industry on its use of this data. Gambling operators must protect the data they receive from
CRAs and must not use it for purposes other than carrying out financial risk checks.
By having access to this data, gaming companies can take a "light-touch" but informed approach to assess financial vulnerability and risk personalised to each individual player.
Affordability Checks and Enhanced Player Protection
As part of the proposed regulatory changes, gaming companies will need to introduce stronger identity verification systems and affordability checks. These checks are crucial in identifying financially vulnerable customers and preventing them from playing
beyond their means. Operators can rely on affordability solutions, which offer a light-touch and low-friction approach, to easily integrate into existing systems.
The checks should only be performed on customers who meet the defined thresholds, ensuring most players will not undergo them. Moreover, operators will be required to prominently communicate and signpost these checks as part of the gaming experience, enhancing
transparency and player protection.
Building Readiness for the Future
Third-party data assets, such as an individual’s financial information, can provide valuable insights to support players effectively. A "single customer view" approach to data capture and analysis is essential to understand player behaviour in its entirety
– and help ensure appropriate measures are in place.
To adapt to the evolving regulatory landscape, gaming companies should act proactively by laying the foundations for a responsible and sustainable gaming ecosystem. Data plays a critical role in this process, and operators should seek additional permissions
to capture personalised data and better utilise the information they already collect.
Adhering to the highest standards of compliance in data capture and maintenance, with a focus on player protection, will ensure that gaming companies stay ahead of any new and emerging regulatory requirements.
Building the Strategy and Execution
To successfully adapt to the changing landscape, gaming companies must create a strong business case that drives proactive action. Assessing the current position and understanding the consequences of non-compliance will aid in developing effective strategies.
Enlisting the support of experienced partners will also help organisations seamlessly implement new measures and access relevant customer information.
The regulatory landscape is continually evolving, and gaming companies must be agile in their approach to adapt to new measures while prioritising player protection. By embracing data, fostering readiness, and partnering with trusted experts, gaming companies
can lead the way in responsible gambling and customer-centric operations. Act now, and ensure a thriving future for the gaming industry, with the welfare of players at its core.