Bet365 and Sky Betting & Gaming worked with GambleAware and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) on a research programme to reduce problem gambling. This consisted of testing messages to those identified at risk with the aim of increasing usage of responsible gambling tools by making them easier to access and informing players that their gambling behaviour was riskier than other people’s. Across both trials, we found that reducing friction increased the number of players setting deposit limits and a cooling-off period, compared with ‘business as usual’ messaging. In the example of the bet365 trial, by providing customers with a direct link to the relevant responsible gambling tool, we observed a 79.1% relative increase in take up rates. Our social norms condition, in which feedback about others’ behaviour was provided, influenced behaviour only marginally.
This research demonstrates how behavioural insights can be applied to increase the uptake of responsible gambling tools. Ultimately, the project has made strides to better understand behaviours related to risky play online. There are simple actions we can take, but there is still a lot to learn. To make real progress in preventing harm, we need to test ambitious and impactful solutions that protect at-risk gamblers. These solutions need to be rigorously tested and scaled across the industry.
Playtech has invested in the development of a new game design and smart labelling framework to help operators and customers make more informed decisions about product attributes and game risk. We have been collaborating and engaging with the industry, regulators and others to develop guidance on sustainable game design principles and the research approach and methodology have been independently assessed by Dr Jonathan Parke, a highly respected responsible gambling academic.
During 2018 and 2019, Playtech has engaged its content studios and safer gambling teams to develop, pilot and implement player labels and it plans to extend slots classification to new games/verticals.
Playtech is deploying a pilot of the slots labelling project with operators to assess how players react to the new information and how and whether it helps them to make informed choices and stay in control of their game experience. A new research project has also been initiated to review game features in the context of player harm proxies.
Flutter has made a sizeable investment in recent years in the development of a proprietary algorithm called the Customer Activity Awareness Program (or CAAP) model. Using over 110 input variables, the machine learning model – which has been reviewed by PwC and has undergone a substantial upgrade in 2019 – detects indicators of harmful activity and assigns a unique risk score to each active account on a daily basis.
Input variables include information relating to a customer’s depositing and withdrawal habits; their betting patterns in terms of preferred events, staking levels and the type of products customers use. The second generation of the CAAP model currently profiles over one million customers across the Paddy Power and Betfair brands every month,and has led to direct engagement with those identified as at-risk.
The model is programmed using machine learning, with the objective of successfully spotting at-risk customers earlier in their playing days, allowing the various brands across the Flutter Group to intervene in an appropriate and effective way to minimise harm.
GamCare’s Youth Outreach Programme “BigDeal” is a prevention education initiative that delivers workshops for young people regarding safety in gambling choices, and training for professionals working with young people impacted by gambling related harm.
A pilot project funded by GVC delivered programmes to 2,500 young people, with an independent evaluation assessing 91% of those being able to spot the signs and symptoms of problem gambling by the end of the sessions. GamCare also trained 750 professionals with a 77% increase in professionals recognising risks associated with gambling. The programme now exists in eight regions across England, Wales and Scotland. 9,500 young people have participated in sessions and 2,700 professionals have received training.
In total, the partnership will enable GamCare to deliver workshops to over 8,000 young people and to train 8,000 professionals. Facilitating conversations with 11-19 year olds around this issue raises awareness of gambling related harm in a sustainable way.
Sessions are constructed around key principles of non-judgement, evidence based information and a neutral stance on gambling participation. BigDeal training sessions offer high quality information on the nature of young people’s gambling-related harm and advice on support based on GamCare’s well-evidenced Model of Care. An independent evaluation of the programme has been conducted and is available at: www.gamcare.org.uk/our-work
Through the National Casino Forum, Grosvenor casinos have been working with Canadian research company Focal Research (Focal) to use gaming machine data to detect behaviour that may be indicative of problem gambling risk. The aim being to provide insight to support existing monitoring processes and aid more targeted Safer Gambling interactions.
Customer survey and transactional data was supplied to Focal by Grosvenor. Using this data, Focal were able to develop their ALeRT algorithms to predict problem gambling risk in customers with a high degree of accuracy.
The second phase of the project taking place throughout 2019 involves a live trial of the Focal ALeRT algorithms in five Grosvenor Casino venues. Staff in venues have been conducting varying levels of interaction with customers identified as being ‘gamblers of interest’ by Focal Research’s ALeRT algorithm.
Staff reaction has been positive and use of the algorithms has led to more sophisticated identification of problem gambling risk in the Grosvenor customer base. This has resulted in more Safer Gambling interactions with customers, that are better tailored to individual customer behaviour.
In July 2018, we launched our ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling. Achieving this ambition is a shared challenge: we’re committed to listening and learning from a wide range of experts and innovators so that we can join up with others who have a piece of the jigsaw and move faster, together.
An important early step was to bring together people who are instrumental in tackling gambling-related harm – who have the insight into the challenges, ideas for solutions and aspirations for the future. We hosted an event designed to disrupt the collective thinking and find new approaches and solutions.
There was an incredible variety of perspectives in the room from well over 100 leading thinkers and practitioners. That included industry experts like academics and researchers, politicians and regulators, and other gambling companies. But we also wanted to bring in deeper and broader views too: people who have had direct experience of gambling-related harm, and their families.
Plus a whole range of people with adjacent expertise that extends beyond gambling – behavioural scientists and psychiatrists, tech experts from Google, organisations like major UK footballs clubs who shape culture and can influence behaviours, and experts in those other areas that gambling can impact like relationships and financial health.
A report captures headlines from the thinking generated from that event. The big ideas created are helping guide the delivery of our strategy and we’ve published the report in the hope they will be useful to anyone working to tackle gambling-related harm: https://www.williamhillplc.com/nobody-harmed/collaboration-towards-solutions/.