Player Protection vs Data Collection

Responsible Gaming Strategy

Feb 6, 2023

A few weeks back I was reading the Twitter thread of Alun Bowden, Senior Consultant at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, discussing Kambi’s presentation “Journey to the limitless sportsbook”. One thing that jumped out was his comment on their new 3rd Generation Trading.

“The main use case here at the moment seems to be an ability to price up [events] nobody really wants to bet on such as second division Icelandic football or super obscure player performance markets.”

Now, I’m sure this raises a lot of red flags for people in the responsible gambling—or mostly on the problem gambling—side of things.

And there are valid reasons for concern.

It doesn’t take too many conversations with people that struggled with problem gambling to realize that when people are betting on obscure sports, it’s frequently done because they are chasing to cover their losses.

They’re trying to quickly win money and they don’t so much care what they bet on. They just need something to give them a chance.

And often the only lines being offered at the time are these obscure sports.

So they start betting on them.

With this in mind, it’s not a huge leap to assume that while the handle on these markets is quite low, the percentage of bettors who are demonstrating problem gambling characteristics is likely to be significantly higher than in other top-tier sporting markets.

Now, one of the first knee-jerk reactions would be to eliminate those types of bets, right? Advocates might encourage operators to take these off the board. If they have a relatively low handle and are mostly played by problem gamblers, a strong case could be made for removing them.

However, I think that would be the wrong decision.

Why?

I don’t want to take these items off the board because I think they give us so much valuable data. What better indicator of harm than to leave a product on the board which is known to attract problem gamblers?

Customers who engage in these bets could easily be flagged and their accounts could be reviewed to look for other markers of harm. If we remove them, we lose this opportunity.

I have a similar thought when it comes to credit card use for gambling. Knowing a customer has multiple credit cards on file could be another yellow flag to help the customer care team. The same is true if new cards get added after a card on file gets declined. All of this information has value. It’s very valuable data that can go a long way towards creating a better picture of the bettor and their behaviors.

In closing, I think we need to be very careful in choosing to restrict things that might also provide us with valuable data and insight. Any time we limit a transaction, we also limit our ability to further analyze and understand the customer journey that leads to problem gambling.

Jamie combined his professional background as a brand strategist with his experience as a former problem gambler to create dyve. He is also host of The After Gambling Podcast.

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