Vulnerable customers matter

In a post-pandemic world that has damaged finances, livelihoods and mental health, protecting the wellbeing of vulnerable customers has never been so crucial. And this is something that gambling operators need to prioritise if they want to future proof their business.

Now that online gambling is easier than ever before, it takes just a few taps for consumers to gamble. Online gamblers have three online gambling accounts on average, which means that vulnerable customers and signs of self-exclusion can often slip under the radar.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, a vulnerable customer is someone who, due to their individual circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.  It’s now estimated that at least one in ten adults in the UK- equating to five million people- experience harmful gambling, either because of their own gambling or someone else’s. And now so many individuals have felt the hardship of the pandemic, there are growing fears that this number is set to rise exponentially.

So why aren’t gambling firms doing more to protect their vulnerable customers?

Understanding your customers

Gambling-related vulnerability can present a unique set of challenges to operators, mainly due to its complexity. Harmful gambling may stem from the fact that a customer may not be fully in control of their decisions or actions, and things can therefore quickly spiral out of control.

To protect vulnerable customers from harmful gambling, it’s imperative that gambling operators gain a thorough understanding about the reasons why an individual may gamble, and what kind of practical solutions can executed and replicated accordingly.

The fact is, there are many reasons why a player may be at risk from problem gambling. Harmful game play can be triggered by traumatic events in childhood or as an adult; it may be linked to mental health problems; it may offer a means to escape from worries or stresses. Destructive gambling is often hidden, which can make patterns of behaviour even more difficult to spot as a consequence.

This is why it’s so crucial for operators to home in on signs of customer self-exclusion. If someone is to open up to a regulated firm about their harmful gambling, it may mean overcoming strong feelings of shame, embarrassment and worry about the consequences. It can take time for vulnerable customers to feel able to talk about it, or even signal that something is wrong. If they do, the response from regulated firms will be a significant factor in determining whether they experience a positive or negative outcome.

Like most regulators, the FCA and The Gambling Commission set their statutory objectives at a high level. Regulators need to interpret their statutory objectives into strategic priorities and define clear, measurable aims. This allows operator teams and external stakeholders to work in alignment by having a common understanding of what they are aiming to achieve, and how they can track progress accordingly.

Firms that are looking to exceed their legal obligations and prioritise vulnerable players will therefore use every possible tool in their arsenal. Which is why we’ve used our decades of expertise to build an industry-leading platform that gives operators the power to protect their customers, and ensure safer game play for all.

Protection for vulnerable players

Using Natural Language Processing and innovative machine learning models, Rdentify flags end-user vulnerability risk during live chat interactions to protect vulnerable players. Our platform seamlessly integrates with your in-house systems to provide your teams and agents with clear, actionable scores and advice in real time. This not only allows you to identify vulnerable customers with pinpoint accuracy, but also increase compliance with the Safer Gambling legislation- thus reducing the likelihood of fines, penalties, and reputational damage to your business.

Rdentify also has the power to recognise vulnerable individuals who are looking for quick pay outs to prevent them from making fake online claims. For at-risk consumers, especially those who are having difficulties with self-exclusion, we offer automated customer journeys that ensure vulnerable gamblers are signposted to the correct support channels. You’ll be able to boost accountability thanks to our detailed customer review options, which ensures appropriate interactions have been completed.

All of this means that customers that are trying to spend or take on debt that they can’t afford can be identified, monitored, and protected from problem gambling, while you uphold your reputation as a customer-first operator.

The gambling industry needs to take the protection of vulnerable players seriously, now more than ever. It’s not just a legal duty- it’s a social responsibility. The more we collectively prioritise the wellbeing of vulnerable customers, the safer- and more appealing- our industry becomes to the consumer.

Put vulnerable customers at the forefront of your operations by booking a free demo with our dedicated experts today.

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