Responsible Gaming in the Online Internet World

The Internet has disrupted lotteries and land-based casinos as it has disrupted so many industries. There are hundreds of poker and casino sites available and at the same time land-based operations struggle to attract players. To address these issues and others, GLI University hosted a roundtable in Budapest in May 2012 to discuss the issues facing regulators and land-based operators. Betware got the opportunity to talk about how online sites are handling responsible gaming.

In the lecture, I made two points. First point is that the world has changed with the Internet and fast phased development of devices such as smartphones and tablets. Now people have access to their digital online universe all the time. Multiple devices give different types of access where the mobile is always in reach but has smaller screen size, but still usable for games. Tablets are more suited for browsing even though people do serious work on these small computers. The laptop is more work oriented and the TV for viewing. Regardless of the device, online lotteries and casinos are now offering games in these devices.

The second point was that installing responsible gaming mechanisms online is easier that offline. This is a fact in this new world of online profiles. People give out their identity and all their actions are tracked and stored in a database. The online lottery can track how much each person spends and enforce a limit on the spending. Other limits are loading of the wallet. This allows users to spend what they have in their account, including the winning, but controls what they spend of real money.

Many lotteries have global limits and a user adjusted limits within the global limit. This allows users to set their own limits. Although this is a handy feature only about 5% of users bother to change the limit and any to raise it to the max. Another service is self-excluding or self-barring. This option allows people to block themselves from the lottery site for specific time, or forever. Although a useful feature, it turns out that very few customers choose to self-exclude. In one installation of our software, only 0,05 are self-excluded.

Other responsible gaming mechanisms are tracking the time and reminders. With tracking time users can be periodically notified how long they have played. For long running games such as bingo and casino games, this might be a good feature. With reminders, users that show excessive gambling can be sent a “general” message about problem gambling and offered to seek council or take an online test.

The conclusion is that online lotteries and casinos are a reality and attracting players. They can bring the experience of visiting a casino or betting shop into people’s life. Although it will not rival the experience of visiting the Bellagio in Las Vegas, playing online appeals to many people. Regulators can enforce responsible gaming rules to protect the players. The challenge is to find reasonable rules that protect the people with problem, while at the same time give people the opportunity to play and lotteries and casino to make good business.

Slides are found here: