Adam Doyle, Head of Gaming at LexisNexis, discusses responsible gambling

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Gambling operators have a duty and responsibility to ensure their customers can gamble in a safe and responsible manner. However, while the resources required to do this can be allocated comfortably by major operators, the costs and investments needed can prove difficult for those businesses of a modest size.

The recent White Paper High stakes: gambling reforms for the digital age, providing even more guidance around responsible gambling.

Operators can also limit and monitor the amount of money that can be deposited within a certain period and offer reality checks to remind individuals of the time and money spent playing a game. Players could be offered more resources and support if they’re struggling with problem gambling, such as being offered access to counselling and support services. Land-based and online operators can implement more frequent and rigid age verification processes, potentially asking for identification documents at every login or visit.

But while there’s no questioning the industry’s willingness to ensure safer gambling for all, the implications of implementing these kinds of measures can prove difficult for some operators, because they all come at a cost.

Building and maintaining effective technical services is expensive and puts a huge strain on a company’s development and tech resources.

Land-based operations can handle these responsibilities in various ways, such as by having a CMS showing the spending habits of a particular player, while the croupier and table staff can monitor the amount of spend on a person’s bank card.

For online operators, there are multiple data providers and technology solutions that offer pieces of the puzzle, all of which can be used to identify, monitor and support high-risk players.

But although highly effective, this kind of close scrutiny relies on expensive technology or extensive training, which can often be too costly for smaller firms to implement. Small land-based or online operators are over-reliant on manual processes for age and ID verification, document reviews and personal interactions to provide support to vulnerable players. All of these steps create an increased workload for teams.

The pressure put on smaller operators to ensure adequate compliance with responsible gaming is significant, given the financial penalties or potential loss of licence for non-compliance. The Gambling Commission has handed out millions of pounds in fines in the past year alone, partially because of social responsibility failings. This kind of punitive action can put operators out of business altogether, despite their willingness to provide a safer gambling environment.

There are fears that new measures, such as enhanced affordability checks and capping betting amounts, could drive people into black market operations

But there are fears that new measures, such as enhanced affordability checks and capping betting amounts, could drive people into black market operations and also put a resource strain on operators that can’t afford the extra levels of security on top of the ones they’ve already implemented.

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