Real time, compliant access to banking data feeds may be a big step forward for safer gambling affordability initiatives but as Peter Murray, W2 Head of Sales discusses, it is also a real step forward in industry collaboration.
The last couple of weeks have been exciting as we released our affordability solution, especially as the timing could not be more critical for the sector. The laser like focus of the Gambling commission around this area is obvious for all to see, and there are no easy answers as the subject of safer gambling and how we address harm minimisation, is a complex one. We could debate it from now until the implementation of the gambling act and we would probably still not find consensus. Despite those firmly opposed to the sector, who’s views are that the industry does not care or is only interested in profit at the expense of its customers, I have been around long enough to recognise that there had been a fundamental change in attitude. Much of the industry is now firmly committed to ensuring that consumers are protected.
That is why, in amongst all of the other initiatives in the safer gambling arena, the ability to compliantly access banking data feeds with the minimum of friction feels like a step forward. A much smoother customer journey than open banking, and much more specific than geo location data, it provides confidence in what a consumer earns at an individual level.
But if we take a step back from the solution itself, the other key fact is that it highlights how far the industry has come around player protection. At W2 we have provided identity and compliance support to the gambling sector for over a decade but for this to continue we need the sector to maintain best practice, invest in the future and be sustainable in the longer term. That is why being committed to safer gambling tools and the principles of player protection must be central to operators and suppliers alike.
The conversations we have had over the last month as we brought our affordability solution to market has reinforced my belief that the sector is embracing this change. From tier one operators to start ups, from CEO to responsible gambling customer service teams, the conversations have all been around delving into the detail and making sure it adds value, over and above the solutions they have in place or are trialling currently. There was a time when any solution would do anything to keep the regulator happy, or the brand off the radar, but the conversation now is about referencing, benchmarking, and measuring, in order to prove how it adds value to the consumer.
The evolution of the solution is also a testament to how collaboration holds the key in areas such as this. The data required to identify a banded income or declared income by accessing real time data feeds has been around for years and the fact it has taken this long to gain access probably says more about the industries reputation than anything else. However, the compliance departments across our partners have recognised the need to support this and we thank them for sticking with us, overcoming the barriers, and eventually finding a way to make these services available. It may have taken time but the ability to do this has hopefully produced a real benefit for all industry stakeholders.
If you want to reach out to us to find out more or to explore how we may be able to work together to enhance player protection, contact us here to book in a personal demonstration with myself or our expert team.