UK gambling operator Entain has revealed its intentions to put some further restrictions on problem gamblers and to unveil automated credit checks at a time when the local gambling sector is trying to improve its customer protection policies in an attempt to delay stricter regulation.
Earlier today, the group, which is the owner of some of the most popular sports betting brands in the country – Ladbrokes and Coral – said that it would be the first gambling operator in the UK to launch personalised stake limits and credit checks by using publicly available data for their consumers, especially for the ones who demonstrate clear signs of being at risk. Potentially harmful gambling behaviour, such as deposits increase and gambling late at night, will be taken into account, too.
Entain has decided not to request their customers to provide bank statements and payslips in order to prove they are capable to lose some money with the operator. The gambling group has cited data protection as the main ground for this decision, as well as the concern that such strict measures could fend off players and encourage them to choose the services of some rival companies operating on the black market.
The announcement of the new customer protection policies of the group comes on the day when the extensive consultation of the UK Government on the fitness of the country’s gambling legislation to regulate an increasingly digitalised sector comes to a close.
Announcement of Entain’s Enhanced Customer Protection Policy Comes at the End of UK Gambling Laws Review
The aforementioned review of the UK gambling laws has been initiated as the Government is considering whether to impose a range of further limitations on the industry. The proposed changes include some changes in the powers of the major gambling regulatory body in the country, suspension of gambling advertising, ban on gambling sponsorships in professional sports, and lower stake limits for online casino and slot games.
Retail gambling operators already suffered a massive reduction in the maximum betting stakes of the fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) a couple of years ago, and the country’s Government and gambling regulators have been considering further changes for operators that would guarantee better customer protection.
At the same time, both campaigners and the Government itself has been concerned that even as liberal as it is, the 2005 Gambling Act is not suitable to serve its purposes and regulate an industry that is highly volatile and changes literally every day, as more aspects of the sector get digitalised.
As revealed by the director of regulatory affairs of Entain, Grainne Hurst, the British gambling operator had worked in partnership with Harvard University to develop special artificial intelligence that was able to identify when the company should impose some limits on a customer’s betting pattern. Entain further noted that it was against the implementation of blanket limits on local players.
According to the UK gambling group, introducing stricter responsible gambling measures will result in a £40-million reduction in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2021.