- Research shows play data can identify problem gambling patterns
- Software could be used to reach players who are at risk
Research by the group has shown clear patterns between play behavior and rates of addiction, suggesting that data from providers could be used to identify those players most at risk.
GambleAware hopes to make monitoring players easier so that safety standards can be improved, as almost half of all gambling now takes place online where human intervention is currently much harder to facilitate.
Charity seeks proactive solution to gambling addiction
GambleAware has always worked closely with the regulator the UK Gambling Commission and with other charities like Gamblers’ Anonymous, ensuring that support is consistent across all kinds of betting play.
However, the measures taken are often retrospective, relating to those who already have a gambling issue and who need help in tackling it.
With this new software, GambleAware hopes to identify problem gamblers before their habit becomes damaging, and allow them to seek help before they have significant losses.
It is a growing field, and Kindred Group, which operates the Unibet online casino, has also been making moves in this field, commissioning research on the problem from top academics.
Surveillance software could be controversial
The GambleAware study found that data already collected by online operators can be used to identify certain play patterns which suggest addiction is more likely.
For example, a player making multiple deposits per session or a player who bets high stakes with a low balance might be playing above a comfortable rate. If an at-risk player is identified, the new software could send a mobile alert or similar message, including a warning about their play and a link to GambleAware’s support services.
The data is already available, but there might still be security concerns. Encrypted data held by online casinos and betting sites will reveal a lot about players in general, but using it to identify and target individuals might raise some ethical questions – as well as creating a security risk.
Reactions to the new software may be mixed. But with increased focus today on problem gambling, especially the scrutiny over fixed odds betting terminals, it is only a matter of time before the online sphere can expect the same level of focus.
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