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Placing a sports bet or joining an online casino game has never been easier. The evolution of smartphones and mobile application technologies allows you to bet and play from anywhere, even the comfort of your own home.
Mobile sports betting is currently legal in 25 states and the District of Columbia, while iGaming is available in six states. The numbers will grow as several states have pending legislation on mobile sports betting and iGaming.
As mobile gambling grows, problem gambling becomes a major concern for government officials, health professionals, gaming operators, communities and other stakeholders.
For most people, gambling is a form of entertainment where players control the time and money they spend. However, it can become problematic with potentially serious consequences.
Operators are aware of the need to be proactive and are investing in innovative technologies to reach players showing signs of gambling problems. Investment in new technology is critical to the long-term health of the industry, where further expansion across more states and products depends on the actions of operators in this area.
Developing common standards for identifying and managing players who display risky behavior has been shown to have no negative outcomes for non-problem players, while building trust with consumers who value brands that increase safety of players and helps create distance between regulated and offshore entities. .
Know the odds
In the first quarter of 2022, mobile sports betting and iGaming generated revenue of $2.79 billion, nearly 20% of all gaming revenue. Mobile sports betting accounted for $1.58 billion of that total.
For game operators, a larger user base and adoption comes with greater responsibility. As a result, growing revenue streams attract scrutiny, and public sentiment toward the industry will quickly deteriorate as it has in other global markets if they don’t see action. Leaving risky behaviors unchecked will result in considerable costs to gaming operators in the form of negative brand equity, tighter regulations and increased friction in the player experience.
Responsible gaming programs are a good start, but placing too much responsibility on the player to play safely will not be enough to reassure lawmakers and the public that the industry is being proactive.
With innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, operators have access to more data, allowing them to engage players and alert them to potential signs of gambling problems.
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While it’s easy to see that protection strategies can affect results, protect players, or at least have more interaction with players about their betting activity, it achieves long-term business results that will improve customer loyalty.
Imagine a new user signing up for a sports betting account. They lose $1000 in the first month and decide it’s time to stop and never gamble again. Compare that to a player betting $500 a year for three years. They are a more profitable gambler than someone who gambles excessively because they are consistent and loyal, and have aligned their bets with their budget which will be placed over time.
There is a strong argument that facilitating healthy recreation-based behavior is better from a revenue perspective. It improves the user experience and opens the door to referrals, positive reviews and more.
Related: As Sports Betting Industry Transforms, Entrepreneurs May Struggle To Profit From Betting, But Related Businesses Will Thrive
Know your customer
A better understanding of players and their behaviors allows operators to communicate with them more effectively regarding their play, including sharing information about their gambling habits at the right time. Providing players with resources to let them know what they spend over time to make informed decisions about their gambling activity is a powerful tool that generates goodwill, positive brand equity and better revenue from sustainable gaming.
Operators must securely collect and verify a consumer’s personal information on account registration in order to comply with strong KYC regulations. Identification is the first step to understanding the player, and combining gaming habits with identity data is a powerful tool for making responsible decisions.
Understanding a person’s context is crucial. If a 21-year-old college student with student loans is betting more than $5,000 each month, there is evidence of problem behavior that could have a lasting impact on their financial future. Having this information about a player allows operators to institute specific measures and safeguards, such as offering a waiting period or placing deposit limits on user accounts.
Operators can also offer monthly account statements to show how much money a player lost (or won) during a month. By making the player aware of what is happening, they can decide whether to set limits or take a break from the game. Giving players access to all their stats allows them to make more informed decisions.
Related: ESPN reportedly eyeing $3 billion sports betting deal
Market for healthy behavior
Operators tailor marketing and engagement based on user activity and behavior. They use it to make marketing offers for the sports team that supports a player, identify fraud or flag when a player’s account has been compromised, and encourage healthy habits by providing responsible gaming material.
For players who demonstrate risky behavior, technology is now available to identify and mitigate that behavior. For consumers who make the brave decision to self-exclude, operators can act to prevent these players from seeing marketing material within specific channels, making their transition to no gaming activity much easier as they are not they feel tempted by attractive offers.
To be successful and sustainable in the long term, operators must continue to invest in data and technology that protects players. The path to a sustainable industry requires increasing public trust and reassuring lawmakers by demonstrating that player protection is an ongoing investment for operators as their revenues grow.
Whether it’s responsible gaming, marketing or fraud prevention, more data means better choices, healthier habits and loyal customers.