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Case study: Tips for socially responsible gambling businesses

Gambling industry leader

Genting Casino was the first business to complete the Safer Gambling Standard in July 2019, achieving the highest level of accreditation available. But they’ve acknowledged they ‘can’t stand still’ in this area. Ross Ferguson, Genting’s Head of Safer Gambling, discusses their progress.

Genting has made several changes to their online business over the past year which were, in part, driven by regulatory change; however, they have also focused on safer gambling practices in other areas of the business which they deem as high risk.

Case study 1: Reality checks on gaming machines

Genting are trialling automatic hourly ‘reality checks’ on B1 gaming machines, and are now running this trial in all their land-based casinos (pre-COVID-19). How is this being implemented?

  • Delivering the message: Customers receive an automated safer gambling message on their screen after gambling for an hour in one single session. They receive a further safer gambling message for each hour that they continue the session on that machine. The message is based on session time and therefore delivered to all customers regardless of whether they use their loyalty card to play or not.
  • Preventing desensitisation: There are up to four different messages which can be displayed for each hour of play. As the messages continue to appear, the colour changes from green to red to indicate an escalation in messaging.
  • Recognising limitations: Messages cannot be personalised for customers as the machine won’t necessarily be tracking the customers’ play.
  • Evaluation: Genting have varied the messages across different venues to help evaluate whether one style of message has more impact on behaviour than another e.g. customers at one venue receive messages highlighting the length of their gambling session, while customers at another venue receive more general safer gambling messages.

Case study 2: Setting voluntary limits on gaming machines

They are also trialling voluntary limit setting on all gaming machines for customers who visit their land-based casinos. How is this being implemented?

  • Delivering the message: Customers who use their loyalty cards on gaming machines are prompted to set voluntary deposit limits and time limits, which includes; the amount of time they wish to play and what time of day they wish to finish. These limits apply to any machine they use in the casino with their loyalty card.
  • Recognising limitations: Limit setting is only available to customers who are willing to have their play tracked through their loyalty card. Customers who do not wish to use their card cannot currently set limits.
  • Marketing: Genting promoted the new limit-setting tool through a marketing campaign which included producing posters, adding messaging to points of sale and machines, and via a staff-training package to ensure that staff could explain and encourage the use of limits to customers.
  • Evaluation: The initiative is still very new, but take up has been relatively low across Genting’s estate (less than 1% of gaming machine customers have been using the tool). This was expected, this is a new initiative and something that has not been done in casinos before (as far as we are aware). As this is an ongoing trial, Genting are continually evaluating, looking at both qualitative and quantitative data to understand how they can better deliver this to their customers.

Adapting to developments in gambling regulations and guidance

In July 2019, the Gambling Commission launched guidance for businesses on customer interaction. Genting took this as an opportunity to reassess their approach to interactions and it led to some changes in systems, processes and training.

Genting looked at how managers were currently recording interactions with customers and added new prompts to their incident reporting process to cover areas outlined in the guidance. Genting now also place more emphasis on recording of outcomes following an interaction and, particularly, obtaining qualitative feedback from customers.

Ross’s social responsibility tips for businesses

  1. Don’t overcomplicate evaluation: Running trials and undertaking evaluation does not need to be an overly complicated process, so if you don’t have the funds, time or resource to get your safer gambling initiative evaluated externally – don’t be put off – run your own internal trials instead, and conduct your own evaluation. Gambling venues are not scientific environments so don’t treat them as such. Just make sure to document what you are doing and why, what impacts you are trying to achieve, your results and, most importantly, show how you are looking after your customers.
  2. Be clear of cause and effect: You need to be able to separate out the individual component parts of what you’re trialling. You may need to run a series of trials, or work with a number of test groups to allow this. Don’t be afraid of ending up with a different product to the one you started with.
  3. Invest in consolidating your different data models and systems: There are many ways of looking at your data to identify people at risk of or experiencing harm from gambling – affordability, markers of harm, predictive models – each model may tell you something different. We need to find a way of bringing together the data in one view so that staff can carry out interactions that are more effective.
  4. 1% impact is better than 0%: Even if the effect of an initiative isn’t as big as you’d hoped, you’re still contributing to a change in behaviour and making the gambling environment safer. Every bit counts.

Published 14 April 2020