UK betting operator Entain has announced the introduction of new restrictive measures for problem gamblers and automated credit checks that show risky gambling behaviour. At the same time, the UK gambling industry tries to increase the level of customers’ privacy by refusing strict gambling regulations.
As one of the leading gambling companies in the UK, operating sports-betting venues like Ladbrokes and Coral, Etain said it would be the first company to ask for personalised betting limits and credit checks for players whose gambling activities, such as increased stakes or financial difficulties, reveal gambling problems.
The operator will check publicly available data to find clients at risk, but there will be no request for payslips and bank statements. Etain referred to the current data protection laws as the main reason not to request such information from the clients. Additionally, the group finds these requirements potentially harmful, as they can “push players out to the black market.”
Entain made the announcement public amid the government’s reviewing process of the 2005 Gambling Act to update gambling laws and ensure safer gambling for UK players. The review should set new limits on gambling advertising, online stakes for casino games, and the authority of the UK’s Gambling Commission.
Although online gambling operators have already suffered significant losses due to reduced betting limits and the pandemic, the government is determined to impose additional restrictions to protect consumers. Simultaneously, many online gambling venues have announced they would report revenues from high-risk bettors or create specific programs for them.
Grainne Hurst, director of regulatory affairs at Entain, said the company had worked on developing a unique artificial intelligence technology in collaboration with Harvard University to identify risky gambling behaviour. This way, the company should be able to put limits on problem gamblers’ activities only, not all clients.
The company stated that introducing rigorous gambling measures would cause a £40-million reduction in revenue before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation.
Entertain also said that the company will collaborate with other operators and the Gambling Commission to share its technology.