On message - Marketing's role in prevention and education from SBC Events on Vimeo.

Safer Gambling Forum: Educating to prevent problem gambling

Responsible Gambling Week (RGWeek 2019) may be over but we have one more panel from our inaugural SBC Safer Gambling Forum for left to share. 

Throughout RGWeek 2019 SBC has been looking at some of the topics addressed during the forum, and what measures the industry can take to promote responsible gaming. 

With RGWeek 2019 having reached its conclusion on 13 November, we look through our final forum discussion which featured Tal Itzhak Ron, CEO & Chairman of Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. Law Firm, moderating a panel which focussed on ‘marketing’s role in prevention & education’. 

Speaking on the panel was the VP of Revenue at Optimove Asaf Cohen, CEO of EPIC Risk Management Paul Buck, CEO of GAMSTOP Fiona Palmer, Education Director at YGAM Kev Clelland and GambleAware’s Campaign Advisor Zoe Osmond

Ron began by providing a brief but detailed background to each of the panelists before opening up the discussion by quizzing the panel on why it’s important to educate bettors on the risks of online gamblers and on how their establishments combat these risks. 

Providing a YGAM perspective, Clelland stated: “At YGAM it’s about informing, educating and safeguarding young people. For some of those young people they’re not of a legal age where they can gamble but we want to give them the tools and the experience so that when they reach that age they can legally gamble and do so in a safe way where they are aware of the risks and can gamble responsibly. 

“We have products such as our workshops for professionals. We believe in a cascade model so that we train professionals who attend our workshops. They get an accredited qualification upon completion, and we give them the skills, knowledge and information to understand why we believe it’s something that’s important for young people and really make it clear that it’s an important issue up there with lots of other potentially harmful activities.”  

In response to this, Buck provided insight on EPIC Risk Management’s role regarding the reduction and elimination of risks in gambling in which he stated that there are both similarities and differences when compared to the role undertaken by YGAM. 

“I think it’s all about informed decisions. We work with places where we can help them make more informed decisions. If you’re making more informed decisions it’s less likely you’ll go through that invisible line into problem gambling and hence you are preventing gambling related harm through that way. 

“We’ve done a lot of work with the armed forces and the criminal justice system through GambleAware over a two year period. At the moment we are concentrating on sectors where evidentially and statistically the most harm exists – education with kids, financial services, the gambling industry and professional elite sports. 

“What we do with those are very different. Within financial services it tends to be more the risk departments we work with so the reputational and financial risks as well as the risks to employees. With kids we do it different to YGAM. YGAM train the teachers where as we have qualified teachers who go in and deliver sessions directly to the children themselves. On the others, we work with elite sports so we work with all 72 clubs of the English Football League, every professional Rugby team and Cricket County in the country and we’re just about to go to America and start working with the NFL.     

“The gambling industry was quite a new one to us. We work on culture change there, but also helping with customer interactions, affordability checks and all things behind the scenes by using the experience of being on the other side of the fence to help them make things safer.”      

Osmond followed Buck’s comments and discussed the thinking behind and the outcome of the BetRegret campaign. 

The GambleAware campaign advisor commented: ““We have adopted very much a public health approach towards prevention so we’re very much at the area of making people aware of impulsive risky bets. To most people, betting has become a normal perfectly safe habit, but there are a lot of people who are betting more than two times a week and we need to make them aware. 

“The campaign’s first stage is to make people aware of the risks of impulsive betting which we specifically landed on three behaviour traits – Don’t bet when you’re drunk, don’t bet when you’re chasing losses and dont bed when you’re bored.

“BetRegret is that sinking feeling of making a bet when you shouldn’t have done so. Not because you’ve lost it but at the moment of betting. It is quite light in its tone and that is because if you tell people not to do something they will ignore it. So what we try to do in the campaign is to provoke a self reflection and make them think about their own betting behaviour and make sure that’s the bet they want to make. For the problem gambler that message isn’t going to resonate, it is much more about making sure that people are aware that their betting habits need to be questioned.” 

On the topic of preventing problem gambling and providing a solution to it, Palmer informed those attending about the work of GAMSTOP and how her motivation as a mother is pushing her to ensure that the tools are in place for those suffering to be able to effectively self exclude. 

“I think the challenge is around consistency. So that we have a consistent message when it comes to education. It’s about informing people up front so that they can make an informed choice and their aware of the risks and also the benefits/pros/cons everything there. 

“We are a website for consumers to come to and they self exclude. They come to us and they are self-excluded from many online operators in the UK. We are talking thousands of websites and I’m pleased to say that in the 18 months that we’ve been live to consumers we are close to having close to 100,000 registrations. 

“It needs to be a decision from you because it’s you that wants to stop gambling and therefore from that you then get added to our register. Operators are integrated with us and they check our register when anybody tries to register with a gambling operator of when they try to log in. As from April next year they will have to do a daily check to make sure they proactively check all their accounts so that marketing can be stopped.”

Following the input from Palmer, Cohen discussed and described the scientific methods currently in use by Optimove which are aiding in the prevention of problem gamblers.

Cohen described the way Optimove works with betting brands to help prevent players reach the status of being a problem gambler by using data gathered from previous compulsive gamblers and comparing it current users with the aim of looking out for markers which could indicate irresponsible gambling. He concluded: 

“We are using science to help brands improve their relationship with their customers. The gaming & betting industry is one of the industries we work with. We look at responsible gambling or the prevention of becoming a compulsive gambler as part of this relationship. 

“We start by taking historical data, normally between six and 12 months worth, and the operator will tell us in that data who they think is a problem gambler. It would either be people who have self-excluded or the operator has decided to exclude them and different operators choose different risks. We look at what sets the problematic population apart from the general public. We look at parameters such as amounts of deposit, frequency of deposits, the speed between getting to a zero balance and making the next deposit as well as even the time of day players are online. 

“It’s like backwards engineering. Looking at people who have become compulsive gamblers and then looking back at the different journey they made to get there and then our algorithms apply that knowledge to the existing population and new players coming in.”

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