The Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to evaluate a recent Association of British Bookmakers initiative – Player Awareness Systems (PAS) – designed to help people avoid gambling-related harm when using gaming machines in LBOs.
Independent research commissioned and published in December 2014 by RGT demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to distinguish between problem and nonproblem gambling behaviour on machines. In response to this finding, betting industry operators have deployed PAS across the UK betting estate, using a variety of analytical algorithms to provide alerts and interventions for customers showing signs of problem play.
To evaluate the on-going implementation of these systems, RGT’s independent Research Committee (which includes only those RGT trustees who are independent of the industry) ran a competitive tender process in February 2016, which saw PwC appointed as the sole independent evaluator.
“PAS marks a significant step forward in the continued development of the harm minimisation measures available in betting shops by allowing for earlier interactions with customers who may be at risk, before they are displaying overt signs of harm,” said Malcom George, chief executive of the Association of British Bookmakers. “This evaluation will help ensure that we are able to build on this progress on the basis of evidence and continue to improve the existing PAS systems on machines.”
As a result of their appointment, PwC will have full access to machine data and the algorithms being used to identify problematic behaviour; observe the PAS controls operated within betting office in order to aid understanding of the scheme and submit their report to RGT for academic peer review this summer.
Mark Jordan, lead partner for PwC, said: “To ensure the future success of the PAS initiative, it is critical to have an understanding of the different approaches designed and implemented at this early stage.”