In April, the Gambling Commission released its first-quarter findings on Problem Gambling in 2022, with aim of monitoring participation levels.
The regulator conducted a nationally representative sample of 4,018 adults aged 16 and over, who were interviewed via telephone in June 2021, September 2021, December 2021 and March 2022 to collect data on gambling activity and participation rates.
This sample produced some interesting results; in the year to March 2022, overall participation in any gambling activity (in the last four weeks) significantly increased to 43% (an increase of 3 percentage points on year to March 2021) but does remain lower than the pre-pandemic participation rate (47% in Year to March 2020).
A key takeaway from the Gambling Commission report was the overall headline problem gambling rate, which is statistically stable at 0.2%. In 2022 so far, the moderate risk and low-risk rates are also statistically stable at 0.9% and 1.4% respectively.
Meanwhile, online gambling participation remained statistically stable at 26% (compared to the year to March 2021) but continues its long-term increase overall.
In addition, the sample also showed that in the year to March 2022, the in-person gambling participation rate increased to 26% (from 23% in the year to March 2021) showing some signs of recovery since the pandemic.
So what do these findings demonstrate?
The increase in participation appears to be driven by a return to in-person gambling activities, particularly through lotteries, sports betting, fruit and slot machines, horses and bingo. However, the participation rates for these activities (in the year to March 2022) remain below pre-pandemic levels. This is a trend that is likely to continue as players shift to online play.
While online gambling rates are stabilising after the initial impact of lockdown, these figures still raise questions about problem gambling rates long-term. As more and more consumers participate in online play, it’s integral that operators prioritise customer safeguarding, and follow strict protocols to protect vulnerable consumers from harmful gaming.
However, we know customer wellbeing has often been neglected by gambling firms in recent years. In March 2022, the Gambling Commission imposed a penalty of £3.15 million to Camelot UK Limited after the National Lottery continued to send marketing messages to those who had either self-excluded or had been identified as showing signs of gambling harm. And it’s just one of the many examples of operators failing to protect those at risk.
Encouragingly, there are some gambling groups out there that are working towards a reduction in harmful gambling rates. In the first quarter of 2022, Kindred Group’s share of revenue from harmful gambling decreased to 3.3 per cent. This was achieved through an increased focus on improving and optimising intervention measures, with emphasis placed on manual interventions towards high-risk consumers- especially with those in the 18-25 demographic, who are generally more prone to harmful gambling and addiction.
The work of gambling groups such as Kindred sets the agenda for problem gambling in 2022; by placing emphasis on customer wellbeing, operators not only avoid the risk of penalties and fines, but also demonstrate to consumers and regulators that they take the protection of players seriously.
As technology becomes faster and smarter, it’s clear that gambling firms can take advantage of digital innovation to identify problem gamblers and protect them from harm.
With Rdentify’s sophisticated NPL software, vulnerable players can be detected with needle-sharp accuracy. Our platform flags end-user vulnerability risk during live chat interactions to protect problem gamblers, and prevent them from gambling on your site.
Through a risk-based scoring system, our software performs in-depth trend analysis of your entire customer base on the Rdentify User Interface, which allows firms to enhance their accountability by reviewing customer bases. Intelligence will then ensure appropriate actions are completed. This lowers the risks of penalties through actionable customer problem gambling risk flags, based on all previous interactions with the consumer.
For at-risk gamblers, 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 ensure appropriate interactions have been completed.
Utilising advanced technologies, Rdentify blends seamlessly with your systems, and offers direct integration with your live chat and CRM tools. Consistent use of our software will enhance your in-house processes, lower your operational risk, and uphold your reputation as a customer-first operator.
As problem gambling rates continue to increase long-term, it’s more crucial than ever that operators protect their vulnerable players. The more the industry collectively prioritises the wellbeing of customers, the safer- and more appealing- our industry becomes.
If you’d further details on how Rdentify can protect your player base, get in touch with our expert team today.