The ABB and affiliated parties have developed and launched a Player Awareness System to analyse behaviour and alert players to recommended courses of action.
A new initiative – Player Awareness Systems (PAS) – which helps people avoid gambling-related harm is being launched today by the Association of British Bookmakers at the Responsible Gambling Trust annual conference.
PAS is a response to the RGT’s December 2014 research that showed it was possible to distinguish between problem and non-problem gambling behaviour by players using gaming machines in licensed betting offices. All members of the ABB have signed up to the initiative, which is believed to be a world first in retail betting.
The PAS analyses the behaviour of those playing on gaming machines when they are logged in to a customer account. Customer behaviour is then assessed against a range of markers of problem gambling, and alerts (via text, email, or on-screen) can subsequently be sent to players. These include signposting to responsible gambling tools such as setting limits on machines or self-exclusion, and directing customers towards the National Gambling Helpline or to speak to a member of staff.
Malcolm George, Chief Executive of the ABB, said: “This is an important and innovative step in our programme of activity to promote responsible gambling, which has included implementing the multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, introducing the second edition of the responsible gambling code of conduct, and implementing restrictions on stakes of over £50 on machines. PAS enables those using gaming machines to be more aware of how they are playing and encourage them to reflect on their behaviour and modify their play.”
The initiative was developed during 2015 by an ABB-led working group that included representatives of Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill and machine manufacturers SG and Inspired (on behalf of independent bookmakers) with the RGT and the Gambling Commission as observers.
Jim Mullen, chief executive at Ladbrokes said: “At Ladbrokes, our board fully support the principle that responsible gambling is a non-negotiable part of how we do business. We welcome the ABB PAS initiative, as it once again demonstrates that within our sector, we continue to listen to the facts about problem gambling and then take action in a collaborative manner on matters designed to reduce potential harm”.
The initiative has also been welcomed by a wide range of bodies involved with the gaming sector, such as Marc Etches, CEO of the RGT: “When the RGT published independent research into machine gambling in British bookmakers in December 2014, we hoped to see a positive and a coherent response from the bookmaking industry to minimising harmful play among its customers. Although further work is required, this is a promising development. We look forward to working with the ABB and its members on the development of a tender for independent evaluation of this initiative, and analysing the insights such an evaluation will provide.”
Dirk Hansen, CEO of GamCare, the UK’s national organisation for gambling problem help, said: “We see daily the negative consequences resulting from problem gambling, and it’s encouraging to see the industry responding to tackle this head on. The Player Awareness Systems is a powerful step in the right direction and we hope it can make a real difference to alerting customers to problem behaviours, and signposting them to the help that is available.”