Tech potential for addressing gambling harm explored

Out-Law News | 17 Feb 2020 | 12:48 pm | 1 min. read

Gambling operators are looking into how technology can be used to obtain an overarching view of customer activity online.

Britain's gambling regulator has acknowledged that operators face a "challenge" in protecting their customers from gambling-related harm where those customers operate multiple online accounts. In those cases, the operators currently have no way of tracking customers' entire gambling activity, making it difficult to identify cases of harm.

The Gambling Commission has said, though, that technology could help operators obtain a "single customer view", and it set up an event earlier this month to explore the possible options with industry and the UK's data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: "We recognise that keeping a customer safe where operators currently only have a partial view of a customer’s behaviour is a challenge. That is why we are bringing together experts from outside and within the gambling industry to explore how technology could create a single customer view, as it has the potential to significantly improve customer protection." 

"I’m really looking forward to seeing what is possible. We are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce gambling-related harm and there is always more to be done. Using technology to facilitate a single view of consumer activity is one of a range of actions we are pursuing to make gambling safer," he said.

The Commission has already told industry that it expects to see progress on other initiatives aimed at reducing harm by the end of March this year. Those initiatives include ethical game design, the use of advertising technology, and incentives for high value customers.

Christopher Rees-Gay of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: "Any measures or steps that can be found to provide operators with a ‘single customer view’ and thereby give a fuller picture of overall customer activity, will be a huge step forward in helping operators to recognise signs of gambling-related harms. It will be very interesting to see whether this is indeed possible and whether the Gambling Commission will set deadlines for the industry in relation to achieving ‘single customer view’."