A step forward for responsible gambling? Online casino LeoVegas talks about its new LeoSafePlay project

Online casino LeoVegas is taking its commitment to player safety a stage further with this year’s launch of its own responsible gambling brand LeoSafePlay.

Head of Customer Support and Responsible Gaming
LeoVegas’ Head of Customer Support and Responsible Gaming Noel Zammit speaks to Casinopedia about LeoSafePlay

LeoSafePlay has a separate URL to the LeoVegas casino page – and that’s for a good reason. It purposely takes players away from the main online casino site, on to a calmer, more relaxed page which, in simple, easy-to-use terms, gives players various tools with which they can make their gameplay safer.

They range from loss, deposit and time limits to cooling off periods and even details on all the transactions they have made so users can get the bigger picture on their play.

Help organizations like gambling charities are also signposted, as well as technological innovations like gambling blocking software.

LeoVegas’ approach mirrors a growing trend in the industry to be more proactive on responsible gambling – using advancing technology to make gameplay even safer and tackle concerning behaviours before they become a major problem.

We spoke to Noel Zammit, who is Head of Customer Support and Responsible Gaming at LeoVegas to find out more about the project.

Noel, can you tell us more about LeoSafePlay?

LeoSafePlay is a portal dedicated to responsible gaming. We’ve put in all the tools, advice and help that anyone would need for a truly safe online gaming experience, tailored to what we believe are four real-life scenarios that someone in difficulty might face.

This is purely an example of our Duty of Care towards our customers by going over and above what we are legally bound to do especially in directing the player out of the LeoVegas gaming site itself.

The LeoSafePlay landing page - a different URL to that of the LeoVegas casino site.
The LeoSafePlay landing page – a different URL to that of the LeoVegas casino site.

What motivated you to come up with this particular initiative?

Ever since we started LeoVegas, our ambition has been to entertain people by providing the best mobile gaming experience. The nature of the gaming business includes that some individuals will move beyond entertainment and develop an addiction.

It is our duty to identify these individuals and help in guiding them to limit or stop their gambling. We simply have a Duty of Care to our customers. Such behavior from our end is both very important for the customers themselves, but also for our employees.

We want them to know that they have our full support when they’re faced with a situation and take an action which they feel is right for the customer to prevent problematic gambling.

What was the thinking behind the decision to give this responsible gambling initiative its own dedicated site and logo rather than simply integrate its tools and philosophy into the LeoVegas brand?

The simple answer is that we want the customer to “leave the casino” when reading and reflecting about potential gaming problems. We also believe it’s more accessible for relatives and friends to find information on a separate site.

In the long term, we would love to rank high on search terms related to responsible gaming to provide information and help to an audience outside of our core customer group.

How are you making LeoSafePlay known to players and what has the response been so far?

We have an on-site banner form the LeoVegas site directly linking to LeoSafePlay. Additional to that, if anyone goes into the Responsible Gaming section of our site, that redirects to LeoSafePlay too.

On the day of launch one of the football teams we sponsor, Norwich City, have proudly wore the LeoSafePlay logo on the sleeve of their shirt for an important game against Arsenal. We are also collaborating closely with Gamban (gambling blocking software) and other partners, and the general response so far has been encouraging.

What are your expectations on how effective Leosafeplay can be at reducing gambling-related harm?

We believe that having a dedicated site with all the tools we can provide to our customers (and others) will be able to seriously and effectively tackling issues of potential problem gamblers. Education is a key component in the prevention process. We actively promote this service to all suspected cases that we encounter by directing them to LeoSafePlay when we give advice on this vital topic.

LeoSafePlay is a relaxed site away from the main LeoVegas casino page which give players access to a range of responsible gambling tools.
LeoSafePlay is a relaxed site, away from the main LeoVegas casino page which gives players access to a range of responsible gambling tools.

Much of LeoSafePlay appears to be about giving players the tools to manage their play, but does it also involve the potential for more intervention on your part, if you notice problem behaviours, for example?

Yes we have provided tools like the self-assessment, which was fully built internally by our Responsible Gaming team. However there’s a lot of work behind the scenes in the identification and management of problematic gamblers through our monitoring systems. This enables us to intervene when we notice difference in behaviours based on trends. We also provide services like Gamban and therapy sessions in cases where we need to give help, which is in line to the Duty of Care towards all our customers.

How much are you looking into other tools and analytics to help keep players safe, from data collecting, to algorithms or even AI?

Yes we do have an active system in place that helps us monitor and identify customers with problematic gambling patterns. This was introduced earlier this year and we’re working continuously on improving it.

This monitoring system is based on two distinct areas – one focusing on predicting the probability of a customer developing a problem and based a set criteria and areas which we think are crucial in RG. The second part of the system is to be able to analyse the player profile analysing the customer’s background, actions and past trends while playing with us.

As said, this is a continuous learning system which we are still targeting to optimise in the next few months.

Responsible Gambling appears to be going through rapid change in terms of industry focus, regulator and government focus as well as technological advancements enabling safer gameplay. How do you see Responsible Gambling approaches developing in the short to medium term?

All the changes in the industry will bring challenges, however the focus we have given over the last months in the Responsible Gaming area puts us in a good position to tackle these changes.

We’re seeing the approach going towards more analytics and monitoring to be able to monitor our customer base and ensure a safer gaming experience.

This will also help us in providing a more tailor-made experience and proactive communications related to Responsible Gaming.

Furthermore, universal self-exclusions is something that the industry will move towards in the medium term and in fact we’re already being proactive by providing the tools for free to those who need them.

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