SBC News All about trust - Charles Cohen on BetBudget breaking down KYC boundaries

All about trust – Charles Cohen on BetBudget breaking down KYC boundaries

In an ever digitising world, the betting industry is finding itself at a crossroads on KYC, finding a need to balance player protection requirements with a respect for customer privacy. SBC News All about trust - Charles Cohen on BetBudget breaking down KYC boundaries

A company which has dived headfirst into this issue is Department of Trust (DoTrust), which recently clinched a brand ambassador deal between its BetBudget tool and champion jockey Harry Skelton, with an aim to boost its visibility to both operators and bettors. 

Following the announcement, DoTrust Founder and CEO Charles Cohen spoke to SBC News about BetBudget’s scope and roadmap, whilst delving into the topical areas of affordability and KYC ahead of UK regulatory changes.

Customer privacy has been highlighted as an area of concern relating to affordability checks, how have you factored this into BetBudget’s development?

This is all about trust. Consumers don’t trust operators with their data, and operators don’t always trust the data which customers provide them – even for EDD. 

There is no way that the gaming industry will be able to move forward in this digitised era without solving the problem of trust. Respecting privacy is an essential component.

Operators need to find ways to analyse the information they justifiably need, without players losing control or transparency in the process.

We built BetBudget on the trusted third-party model – a bit like PayPal works for transactions, or authenticators do for passwords. Our idea is to provide the player with a secure, independent repository of their data with open banking, which keeps their data private, and allows an efficient exchange with operators through the app. Low friction, maximum control and ease of use.

Can an effective affordability solution really function without accessing all of a customer’s personal data? Problem bettors are often very adept at hiding their finances.

The beauty of BetBudget is that its most important customer is the player themselves. The app gives you a complete picture of your financial life and allows you to understand exactly where you stand. 

Of course, for some people who are in real trouble, this might in itself be a real challenge. But for the vast majority – and, in particular, those people who might be at risk of developing a problem down the line – it has real value. 

We understand that for people to have confidence to do that, and connect all their accounts, they have to trust us. That’s why we make sure no data is shared without additional consent in response to a specific request from an operator, which the customer has the right to decline if they wish. 

What areas of player affordability is BetBudget evaluating for operators? – e.g. disposable income, take-home pay, source of funds, overall credit scores (does an operator require information on all of the above). 

We are looking at all aspects of financial KYC that relate to financial stability, gambling risk and fraud. We recalculate each person’s disposable income, take home pay and a number of other KPIs every six hours based on what happens in their bank accounts. These all feed into creating the data points which operators can then use to manage their policies and interactions with customers 1:1.

Operators sometimes need to know just simple facts. For example, a CS team looking at a low risk customer might ask just to know whether a customer’s gambling spend over the last three months was less than 30% of their disposable income. 

Sometimes they might need a lot more information, though. We allow them to be very targeted, because customers are more likely to share data when they know what it is and why it is being requested. 

Recently an operator asked to be able to request how much some customers are paid – just a number – but for other customers they need the name of the employer. 

By the way, we never use credit scores. They are not relevant to this kind of financial KYC. Just because someone is good at paying their bills doesn’t mean they can afford their gambling, and vice versa. 

BetBudget may provide deeper customer insights, but does it serve as a platform/website block for problem gambling?

Not yet, but this is on the roadmap. Our vision is to provide operators with a one-stop shop for everything related to this area of compliance and delivering great player experiences at the same time.

Horse racing is one of many sports bettors like to punt on, how do you plan to promote BetBudget to a wider betting audience?

Our partnership with Harry Skelton is the start of what we hope will be a great relationship with the racing public and industry. Affordability checks on these punters cause the most worry and this has been expressed in the media and even in Parliament. 

We’ll be working with Harry and his team, as well as our own relationships, to help racing bettors learn about BetBudget and understand better how it can help them. 

Has there been increased demand for BetBudget and affordability tools in general as a result of rising living costs and inflation?

It’s definitely increased the need for these kinds of solutions.

With the Gambling Act review once again delayed and potentially shelved completely, in your view is a £500 monthly deposit still a possibility and how alert should operators be?

I don’t think reform will be shelved completely but it might happen in a different way. The fact is, though, that the GC is already ahead of this in the way they are addressing the market and in the penalties being imposed. A de facto set of limits are effectively coming into force, with or without legislation.

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