Home Retail How is safer gambling promoted at retail betting shops?

How is safer gambling promoted at retail betting shops?

by Ozva Admin

Safer Betting Week Special – Online betting has received much of the attention, but preventing damage to retail betting can be a difficult problem where technological solutions can be more difficult to implement. iGB looks at which of the safest gaming tools are available at bookmakers.

For the average person in the UK, the most noticeable sign each year that it’s Safer Gaming Week would be from the bookmakers.

Industry initiatives during the week are far-reaching, both in physical spaces and online.

But bookmakers, despite a decline in numbers in recent years, are still on almost every high street in the country. And almost all of them are covered with signs that encourage people to think more about their gaming activity.

But inside those retail betting shops, what can be done to protect customers?

As media and government pressure around harmful gambling grows, the industry has tried to show that it can deal with the potential harm without the need for strict interventions that could affect all customers.

Those solutions, however, usually involve technology. And technology like that tends to be much easier to implement online, where a customer’s entire activity can be easily monitored.

The industry effectively recognized this after losing the fight over betting limits at fixed odds betting terminals. While campaigners tried to implement similar limits for the online sector, industry insiders argued that the tools available online to monitor and prevent harm meant participation limits were not necessary.

The implicit concession would be that it is much more difficult to detect harm in retail betting without the imposition of hard limits.

What safer gaming tools exist in bookmakers?

That, of course, is not to say that there are no tools to limit the damage of retail betting. An Entain representative pointed out that many of the tools that exist for retail betting are also available online.

“Addressing harm in both retail and online is similar in that many of the safest gaming tools available are the same,” they said. “For example, setting time and spending limits, reminders, and self-exclusion options.

When asked about tools to prevent damage in retail betting shops, a Flutter spokesperson also noted that their Safer Gaming strategy largely worked across all channels.

“As part of the Positive Impact Plan launched in March, Flutter includes its Play Well pillar as a key focus area that underpins every element of the group’s strategy,” they said. “The pillar highlights universal principles that Flutter can employ across all of its divisions.

Pointing to the measures in place at the operator’s Paddy Power stores, he cited measures that also exist online.

“Paddy Power betting shops do not accept credit cards,” the spokesperson continued. “They also operate a self-exclusion system, an industry-wide initiative, where customers can request that staff no longer accept their bets.”

Still, statistics suggest that the extent to which these tools can be used in retail betting is much less than online. William Hill reported that in 2019, the last full year in which Covid-19 lockdowns did not disrupt the retail sector, it made 200,771 online gaming interactions safer. In retail, for its part, it made 33,789, despite the fact that the sector accounts for 39% of income. While the exact numbers may change from carrier to carrier, it’s generally true that online is responsible for far more interactions.

And some of the solutions are more difficult to apply consistently and effectively in the retail sector. Self-exclusion schemes, including the Multi-Operator Self-Exclusion Scheme (MOSES), exist to allow players to effectively exclude themselves from all betting shops run by major operators.

But unlike an online account, the controls to ensure that a self-excluded player, or one that an operator has banned for their own safety, does not return to a store is not foolproof. In a series of media investigations, such as one of the BBC In 2019, customers self-excluded themselves from retail betting operators, only to then be able to enter stores and place bets.

Adding to the difficulties is the nature of the retail customer.

“There is, to some degree, a transient aspect for many of our customers: people walking into one of our stores to place a bet,” the Entain representative noted. “They are not repeat customers and therefore our teams may find it more difficult to identify changes in behavior.”

Personal touch

However, there are also certain advantages that the retail sector presents. That starts with the personal touch that comes with betting at your local store.

“There is a personal aspect to retail, where our field teams will know your regular customers well and will be able to notice any worrying behavioral changes,” the Entain representative said. “It’s easier for our teams to spot signs of damage and intervene, if necessary.”

However, much of the work must be done by store staff, giving them more responsibility than a standard retail job. That can present a challenge, but operators have gone to great lengths to ensure all staff are properly trained for the realities of what their role may entail.

“Our teams definitely have a role here and are trained to spot signs of problem gambling and help customers in-store. We want to make sure our customers have a safe and enjoyable experience when they’re in our stores,” the representative said. of Entain. additional.

Then there’s the aspect that’s on display at its best during Safer Play Week: in a physical space, there are far more opportunities to put safer gaming messages in front of customers.

A 2020 GambleAware report on Integrating Safer Gambling into Regular Business Practices pointed to these opportunities. Various physical touchpoints within the customer journey serve as possible places to remind them to think more about their activity.

“Betfred’s retail team intended to use a variety of in-store touchpoints, some of which are not normally used for safer betting messaging,” the report says. “These included advertising and marketing materials, such as the large billboards that normally draw people into stores and messages on screens, as well as other customer-facing communications such as betting slips and brochures.

“The intention was that someone in the store would have a hard time missing the messages but not see them as something that stood out from everything else in a negative way.”

Retail goes digital

The ultimate question of whether there is enough technology in retail to deal with damage could be addressed by technology. The retail betting sector, like almost all retail industries, has been going digital in recent years, a movement that has accelerated post-covid. Terminal betting has become more common than ever and the use of cash is less common. Last week, William Hill launched its first “digital only” store in Leeds, saying player protection was “key to this transformation”.

The Entain spokesperson noted that many data-driven steps are needed to address the harm in retail betting.

“We are the only operator in the industry to force our teams to interact with customers when a gaming machine’s voluntary limit is exceeded, and also the only operator with transactional alerts based on customer engagement and usage. debit card that encourages our teams to interact. and have a conversation,” they said.

“We also run algorithms in our machines that act as an early warning system to detect potentially harmful behavior through our Player Awareness System, and we intervene with safer betting messages with those identified against our protection markers.

“Our teams will step in and have personalized interaction if our customers show any triggers for safer gaming.”

However, Entain’s boast of being the “only operator” to take these steps suggests that all of this is still relatively new to the industry as a whole.

Data and digitization are likely to one day offer a complete solution to the risk of gamblers running away in retail betting. But the industry may need that solution to come soon, or the answer may come from the top and be much less specific.

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