Ivan Lorinkov, Head of VIP at Soft2Bet, spoke to SBC News about facilitating enjoyable – but not addictive – gambling experiences, using real-time data to identify problem gamblers and why players should never be coerced into betting beyond their own affordability limits.
SBC: How does Soft2Bet encourage an enjoyable gambling experience without it turning into an addiction?
IL: VIP managers across the gambling industry need to do more to ensure that customers stay safe. Years of experience in enhancing player protection has taught us one lesson more than any other: treat your players as human beings, rather than just an income stream.
Gambling should be about fun, entertainment and enjoyment. That’s why our team tirelessly endeavours to treat our customers with care, and fully protect them from the dangers of problematic behaviour.
SBC: What problem signs do you look out for and what steps are taken in that situation?
IL: The first thing to remember is that there are a wide range of potential symptoms to be aware of, and operators have a duty not only to look out for those warning signs, but to warn their players about them as well.
Alarm bells should obviously ring if a customer is spending more than they can reasonably afford, and it’s not enough to simply let punters know that responsible gaming tools are available.
Rather, they should be actively encouraged to use them by members of the operator’s customer service team. You can read more about our streamlined approach to customer support processes here.
SBC: How promising is the use of real-time data to combat problem gambling?
IL: It is certainly promising. The signs of irresponsible or problematic behaviour are numerous and multifaceted, and implementing algorithms which can detect those signals at an early stage of the customer life cycle are crucial to both operators and players.
As a responsible gambling operator with accountable VIP managers, customer well being consistently features at the very top of our priority list and is embedded in the daily working habits of team members throughout the company.
SBC: What do you think the wider industry could be doing to help with this issue?
IL: Players should never be coerced into betting beyond their own affordability limits. The outbreak of coronavirus, and the subsequent lockdowns implemented in markets across the globe, forced a significant number of land-based and retail outlets to shut up shop for an extended period.
That, in turn, caused an uptick in activity for the online sector – but with an increase in traffic comes greater responsibility. Individuals always have the right to be treated with sensitivity and care, and there is no reason why that shouldn’t apply to the gambling industry.
SBC: Finally, you mentioned that VIP managers need to do more. But, what games does the modern VIP prefer? And wow is responsible gambling in these games encouraged?
IL: That depends on the individual in question. Some prefer simple, classically themed slots, while others prefer to enjoy more complex and multifaceted titles with the latest high-tech features. Just like other players, VIP preferences vary widely.
Basic responsible gaming tools, such as rules forbidding operators to enable full-screen mode during the gameplay, or legal obligations to set spending or time limits in advance, are a good starting point – but the industry must endeavour to do even more to protect players.