The use of digital ID technology to improve player protection within the betting and gambling industry in the UK has been widely welcomed by operators, according to research carried out by validation services supplier, 1account.
A widespread consultation by the company investigated the ‘benefits, opportunities and challenges in linking player accounts and activities across numerous operators to a digital ID. Both offline and online gambling operators took part, as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Spirt (DCMS), industry regulators and gambling support service providers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was found that a significant majority of those involved in the consultation agreed that having digital IDs across multiple accounts would facilitate ‘greater identity assurance’ in an environment that is seeing the various agencies and bodies across all parts of the whole constantly endeavoring to protect both customers and themselves. Furthermore, participants felt that this technology would also help in providing mutually useful insights regarding player behavior in the context of checking affordability.
Former William Hill CEO and 1account advisory board member Ralph Topping: “The gambling industry in the UK takes its responsibilities to customers extremely seriously, however they can only act on the information they themselves hold about a person’s activities… digital ID has the capability to tackle the challenge of players that use multiple accounts which can hide the true extent of a gambler’s financial position.”
Digital ID technology can help everyone in the industry, including players. According to 1account, 100% of the consultation’s participants believed that gamblers would benefit from linking their numerous accounts through digital ID because this would make available to them their overall net deposits. Additionally, different options would provide customers with more choice based on the information and playing flexibility – for example, respondents supported a feature that informs bettors of net deposit ‘milestones’.
There will always be the question, of course, as to what extent player information should be made available to operators. However, given the importance of protection on both sides of gambling transactions, the claim by 1account of the resultant efficacy to the industry in having access to a consolidated view of a player’s overall financial position in the shape of balances, net gains/losses and their transaction history is a reasonable one. Spending and deposit limits aimed at achieving prudent and safe player account management are a crucial aid that we expect operators to put in place when appropriate. And, as has been mentioned above regarding the overall usefulness of information, players themselves can make more informed choices that they might not otherwise have arrived at had they not had at their disposal a consolidated view of their collective balances and transaction history.
Supporting their findings, 1account highlighted data from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) which showed that while 10.5 million people in the UK bet online, the average number of online accounts they actually have is three. Meanwhile, problem gamblers tend to have at least five accounts.
It’s to be expected, then, that there’s a keen interest within the industry in sharing information about players’ salaries, mortgage/rental costs and so on through digital IDs. Again, it’s in everyone’s interest to protect players wherever possible, including, for example, not targeting those who are potentially vulnerable.
With this in mind, we’ll end with Topping’s thoughts on digital IDs: “It’s clear to see that there’s a strong appetite for the use of digital ID in the gambling industry. It can protect regular, vulnerable or problem gamblers who hold player accounts across different operators both on and offline and also support operators in making responsible decisions on behalf of their customers.”