The whole issue of ‘safer’ gambling and harm minimisation is much discussed. It will clearly play a critical role as the industry looks to gain trust and ensure sustainability in the face of media, political and public pressure. That focus has accelerated the drive to better understand both the issues and the potential solutions and certainly every regulator, new or old, has this front and centre of their requirements. That however does not bring consensus and has left us looking for ways to set benchmarks and formulate KPI’s that might help guide us and produce effective outcomes in order to identify and support those most affected by the sector
At the SBC Barcelona Digital event I had the good fortune to moderate a safer gambling panel on the subject and got to debate this from all angles. Operator, regulator, industry trade body and crucially, in Gordon Moody association, an organisation responsible helping those most seriously addicted. It was one of the most enjoyable debates I have had in a while, probably because I have not seen a panel debate this topic before.
Whilst the debate is relevant and necessary, what we clearly need to have is outcomes. The last couple of years has seen the big operators generally come together on certain areas recognised as markers of harm and regulators are honing in on this. Time limits and customer interventions are becoming the norm with German regulators going further proposing deposit limits across multiple products. These markers are some of the most recognisable but are they successful?
It was also good to see the Dutch trade association taking this wider and setting up a national barometer that will engage the wider public. NOGA under the guidance of Peter-Paul de Goeij setting up a panel and having it independently audited by IPSO.
Ahead of the panel I reached out to the academic research community for some guidance and whilst they admitted that from their perspective, research at this stage is not adequate enough to drive KPIs, they did say the topic was interesting as they had not heard that conversation (KPIs) in policy, treatment or research. Often policies talk about “reduction gambling harm” or “problems” without any definition or consideration of what this means. Even worse when the requirement is to “increase responsible gambling”. So perhaps the first lesson is that being specific is good.
So what would be good measures that point the way to meaningful outcomes? From the conversations around the panel here is my starter for 10… well 7 actually.
- Customer visits to RG pages
- Customer views of activity statements and account summaries
- How many customers are detected as exhibiting risky play/potential gambling problems?
- How many of these are contacted? (personally vs. impersonally e.g., phone call vs. email)
- How many customers enact all consumer protection tools – set limits? (aim should be 100% as this is a prevention tool)
- How many take time-outs and self-exclude (no specific metrics, but more is probably better)
- Is there a reduction in reversed withdrawals and other risk markers?
Clearly for safer gambling there is still lots to discuss and lots to work on. So much so that we thought it was worth delving further. We have decided to reconvene the panel to discuss those areas we missed and to see if we can get any specifics. Remember, Specifics are good!
KPI’s 2: This time its personal!