There are several ways to help players make responsible decisions when gambling. These ways are gathered under a (pretty big) “responsible gambling”-umbrella. However, this umbrella looks different depending where you are gambling – if you gamble online or in a land-based environment; in your retail store or at your casino. The politics and regulations leaves the gambling industry with a lot of opportunities to decide how that umbrella should appear – so why don’t we grab the chance to make it big enough to actually be responsible?
Folding up the responsible gambling umbrella, i.e. taking responsibile gambling seriously, is a lot of hard work for the gaming provider. It includes various actions, such as assenting to the responsible marketing principles, only offer games that has undergone a “responsibility check” and to educate the staff on the ethics of responsible gambling. Another important part under the umbrella is to empower the player to make conscious decisions.
That includes offering the player ways to keep control of their gambling e.g. with limit-setting tools. Another example is to inform the player of their risk level and actual gambling behavior with a behavioral tracking tool.
We at Playscan would say that this is where the dividing line between online and land-based gambling runs – what kind of RG-tools are offered and in which channel. Yet today there are very few examples of limit-setting or behavioral-tracking tools when it comes to retail or land-based gaming. Why? Is it not possible to provide retail or casino players with these kind of tools? Ofcourse it is possible, but we need to change or at least modify our understandings regarding what land based gaming is – and how it differ itself from online gambling.
Change the way we understand “land based gaming”
Today it’s possible to provide players with responsible gambling tools, such as risk assessment based on player behavior, due to the fact that the e-gaming machine has experienced technical changes. VLT’s or betting-terminals are not an anonyms sensation anymore. For example, the traceability that’s characteristic for online gambling does often also apply on land based gambling. The operator can centrally automatically monitor every VLT machine. This means that one way of looking at land-based gaming today is that its just another gaming channel where a behavioral tracking tool, like Playscan, works perfectly fine.
To provide the player with a weekly risk analysis the solution needs 2 things
The first thing needed by a behavioural tracking tool, such as Playscan, is gaming data. The information is transferred from the game-provider and analyzed in their Playscan-risk analysis system.
In addition to the gaming data a behavioural tracking system also need to know the identity of the player in order to make a personalized risk assessment.
Today, it’s common with some form of player loyalty card when gaming. These cards are used for the purpose of identifying the player. The information is already often used for marketing purposes – and it is the same information that is needed for tools like Playscan to track and assess risky gambling on an individual level.
By combining the gaming data with the identity of players it is possible to inform them when their behavior starts to become risky. This empowers players to make conscious decisions about their gambling, catching developing problems at an early stage.
Has this been done anywhere?
Lets take a look at Norway. The famous Norwegian VLT story started with an overall inspection of the gambling machine. What is the best way to deal with the machines and control the negative effects?
The Norwegian government answered the question in 2007 with a total ban. Though, the second answer was to replace the old machine with new technology, together with a more restrictive distribution. The state-owned gaming provider, Norsk Tipping, introduced a machine that was connected to one central server. Along with a multichannel personalized electronic ID (their mandatory player’s card), the machine could now answer questions like:
What game did you buy, how many tickets, when did you buy and where did you buy? Did you win/loose, how much, on what game and at what date?
Last month Playscan started to analyze data from VLT’s physically standing all around Norway. This added another dimension of knowledge in the understanding of player behavior and the effect of RG-tools.
Players at the Norwegian state lottery Norsk Tipping are now provided with an early warning if their machine-gaming starts to become risky – and this is a big step forward towards the goal to offer RG-tools in the land-based gaming environment.
The bottom line
The bottom line here is to bring principles of what we have learned from gambling online – to gambling in retail stores, betting shops and into the casinos. The channels don’t differ in any dramatical way anymore – and as new technologies are introduced, responsible gambling can adapt and reach a wider audience.