Jeremy Taylor, the Managing Director of Genting’s interactive division, tells SBC about the company’s approach to safer gambling, how it became the first operator to achieve GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard – Advanced Level 3, and why the industry should work together on the issue.
Genting will also be sharing insights on its commitment to creating a safe environment for players when Jon Duffy, its Director of Corporate Assurance & Regulatory Affairs, takes part in the inaugural SBC Safer Gambling Forum at Olympia London on 19 September.
Speaking ahead of the event Taylor, who moved to Genting from Betsson Group late last year, discusses the roles corporate culture, technology, self-regulation and certifications can play in improving the provision of safe gambling.
SBC: How have you found your first year with Genting?
Jeremy Taylor: I joined Genting 10 months or so ago with very high expectations, but it’s been even better than what I expected. Aside from the culture being fantastic and very high performing with some fantastic people, we have made some incredible strides in the digital space in a very short space of time.
We have moved to Malta, built a team, office, finalised MGA and Spain licences, achieved the highest safer gambling accreditation, added significant new content and games, and launched a new mobile first website – all under a new umbrella brand ‘GentingBet’. These are just a few examples. Most importantly, we are also outgrowing the market in revenue.
We are a relatively small team but backed by a global giant in the entertainment space and that is incredibly rare and exciting. There is no ceiling to our growth internationally.
SBC: Genting UK recently became the first operator to achieve GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard – Advanced Level 3. What prompted the decision to apply for the Standard and what are the benefits of achieving it?
JT: Genting are rightly proud of their track record in respect of safer gambling. However, we are aware we cannot stand still and must continue to make progress in this area, which is at the heart of everything we do. As such, engaging with GamCare and undertaking the Standard was a priority for us.
In simple terms this is an external audit, and achieving this Standard ensures that our internal controls, processes, guidelines and policies are adequate, effective, in compliance with all applicable legislation, and the LCCP. This also provides us with the confidence and reassurance that we are doing what we should be doing!
SBC: One of the things that GamCare’s certification focuses on is the way in which responsible gambling measures are integrated into the operator’s organisational culture. How much work did that involve and what advice would you give to operators that wish to follow Genting’s lead?
JT: Operating responsibly is incredibly important to us. It is not about ticking boxes to be compliant, it is central to everything that we do at every level of the organisation. Our staff, with their depth of knowledge and first-hand experience, are key in delivering this. We empower them and give them a voice through education and control systems to make a difference at the front line of safer gambling.
SBC: Quality certification schemes play a key role in maintaining and raising standards in many industries; to what extent do you think the GamCare scheme could do the same within the gambling industry?
JT: The industry is facing a growing number of challenges and we (the industry) are most effective when we work together as one unified voice. An initiative led by GamCare to establish operational best practice can raise standards across the board.
Having the SGS in place, as Genting do, demonstrates that the company has robust and effective systems in place.
SBC: The issue of problem gambling has generated a lot of negative publicity for operators in the UK in recent months and some politicians are now talking about changing gambling legislation. Is new legislation inevitable or can industry self-regulation work?
JT: The hope is that this Standard again raises standards to a level that demonstrates that we as an industry have in effect self-regulated and driven change, so the need for specific legislation change would not be required.
We welcome dialogue with politicians, regulators, charitable bodies and our fellow operators as we look to establish an operational best practice that ensures high standards of self-regulation across the industry.
SBC: What practical steps would you like to see operators take to improve the identification and management of players with, or at risk of developing, a gambling problem? And can they be successfully implemented without damaging the experience for other players?
JT: We are not saying in any way that we have the answer here, what we have is a culture that drives and puts safer gambling at the heart of everything we do. The way we identify and manage players with, or at risk of developing, a gambling problem is constantly evolving and dynamic. As we learn more in this field we update the way we approach, interact, record, monitor and evaluate; this is very much a circular process.
Behavioural analytics is one of the primary methods to gain an insight into who is showing signs of being at risk. The use of data science techniques incorporating key variables or ‘markers of harm’ enables models to be built to predict whether customers are at risk, or will be at risk if they continue to engage in gambling to the same extent.
We are working with experts in this field and with research companies who have prior and proven success in the area of behaviour analytics. This includes working with Mindway AI, who create advanced solutions for the identification of at-risk gambling and problem gambling based on neuroscience and artificial intelligence, to supply state-of-the-art early detection and intervention solutions.We will also innovate and invest from within, using our dedicated data scientists and safer gambling experts to drive this forward.
The most important aspect is to have evidence-based findings, to assess and to re-evaluate, improving at every stage. We want the right answer and the right answer may not be found straight away. Effective research takes time, and failures are expected. Genting will continue to innovate and develop now and in the future in the pursuit of market leading standards.
Does this damage the customer experience? Well ultimately this is about ‘knowing our customers’, and how best to deliver this information to them in a way that is effective. But where we have identified possible markers of harm, or behaviour that is not the norm for that customer, then there should be an engagement. This is for the benefit of the customer.
SBC: To what extent can technology be used to create a safe environment for players online? Or are company culture and player education more influential factors?
JT: Clearly technology plays an important factor in creating a safe gambling environment for online gambling; for example, using data to better understand the customer. But this does not mean that company culture and player education are not as influential. They all play important roles, and help and support each other in us achieving a safe gambling environment for the customer.
SBC: And finally, how important can initiatives such as the SBC Safer Gambling Forum, which brings together operators, regulators and gambling charities, be in improving the environment for players?
JT: As I’ve said before, the industry is most effective when it works together and shares its knowledge. Bringing together the top operators to share insight, discuss operational best practice and openly address the challenges ahead can only be a good thing.
Chaired by Graham Weir, Founder & CEO at Safer Gambling Solutions, the Forum features a full day of conference content with sessions addressing key issues such as loss limits and stakes reduction, understanding player finances, identifying and interacting with problem gamblers, and CSR.
The exhibition floor at the venue will also have a safer gambling area, with GamCare, Mindway AI, EPIC Risk Management, YGAM, GAMSTOP, GamBan and BetKnowMore among those with stands.