Player protection remains firmly in the spotlight within the global betting and gaming landscape. The UK’s Safer Gambling Week in October illustrates the industry’s consistent efforts to provide safer betting experiences, while at SBC Summit Barcelona, an esteemed panel featuring some of the world’s biggest lotteries will discuss their views of best practices.
We caught up with panellist Nikos Konstakis, Chief Product Officer at OpenBet, to learn more about the ways in which OpenBet is making player safety a priority without compromising on providing best-in-class sports betting entertainment.
SBC: In what ways does OpenBet’s sophisticated platform make player safety a priority?
Nikos Konstakis: We have all the tried and trusted tools at our disposal, such as deposit limits, timeouts, and self-exclusion, and these form the basis of what we do. We have developed these tools in recent months and years to include time limits and session reminders, as well as hard limits, such as a tool that will remove a player after a certain time elapses.
Of course, we want to do this in a sensitive way – the aim is still to make our platform as engaging as possible for the end user. For example, if after a session limit of an hour has expired, the player can still watch a live stream and casually engage with the sportsbook without betting.
In addition, a fully flexible CMS gives us the ability to provide links and video or image banners with responsible gambling content, live chat integrations, and back-office reporting with proactive monitoring. Our portal is fully customisable, which is an approach we take on both digital and retail.
SBC: With betting activity expected to increase for the upcoming World Cup, how can you help to ensure both new and existing customers enjoy their experience in a responsible way?
NK: For existing customers, we are noticing trends such as an increase in deposit limits, so the traditional tools are still very relevant. As far as new customers are concerned, our CRM tools give us the ability to build out audiences while proactively monitoring players.
For instance, prior to the World Cup, all of our partners are going to see a flurry of new registrations. We can bundle those up into a ‘newcomer audience’, allowing us to keep a closer eye on them and quickly identify any problematic betting patterns.
It requires proactive monitoring, but our systems use real time data feeds, which allow the operator to make decisions instantly. These tools give us varying degrees of contact we can make – from gentle reminders to, in extreme cases, applying blocks.
SBC: Can your offering be tailored to better address the specific needs of bettors, and can this be utilised to create a safer betting environment?
NK: Every offering can always be enhanced, and that is something that we aspire to achieve every day at OpenBet. The CMS can have information added to it where required – we can insert links to affordability tools and questionnaires, for example. With the ability we have to contact bettors, we already feel we are doing a considerable amount to promote a safer environment.
When we create products like BetBuilder, we always aim to adapt and improve them – we want these experiences to be engaging and fun, but new innovations like social betting, which involve introducing betting to friends and family, must adhere to responsible gambling initiatives to ensure they are as safe as they can be. In particular, this is hugely important when trying to introduce these products to emerging markets in the US.
SBC: OpenBet has a considerable footprint in the lottery space. What part do you play here in educating and engaging your audience in regard to responsible gambling?
NK: Lotteries have been vital for OpenBet for many years, and we have had significant success with them in recent times. Historically, lotteries have always had a focus on social responsibility, and this sits well with the OpenBet ethos.
As far as our audience is concerned, we are genuinely blessed with our customer base. Each one is taking its approach to responsible gambling seriously, so rather than educating, it is more a case of collaborating with them. We share our ideas and maintain an open dialogue to ensure the best, safest outcome is achieved.
SBC: With regulation likely to get stricter in future, what initiatives does OpenBet have in place to ensure it remains compliant with responsible gambling practices?
NK: Responsible Gaming is top of our strategic agenda and will continue being a key focus area for the next year as well. In the last six to 12 months, we have really strengthened our product team, particularly on what we call the player pillar – where the platform and account-based information is. Building our product management team there was a priority for us.
Hires in the compliance department have also been made paramount – if we are to focus on providing the highest level of player safety, an experienced compliance unit, one that can open doors with regulators and keep the discussion alive, is absolutely vital.
OpenBet is a sponsor of this week’s SBC Summit Barcelona 2022 conference and trade show, where Nikos Konstakis will join Uffe David (Head of Vendors, Danske Spil), Dan Korhonen (Head of Product – Sports Betting, Svenska Spel), and Jari Vähänen (Co-Founder & Partner, Finnish Gambling Consultants) for the ‘Responsible entertainment while engaging consumers in online gambling’ panel at 16.20 CEST on 21 September.