Grainne Hurst: Personalised technological safe betting solutions ideal outcome of gambling review

The UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act has been welcomed by the industry, and leading operator Entain in particular has praised the evidence-led approach to the regulatory overhaul.

Speaking to Martin Lycka in the latest episode of the Safe Bet Show, Grainne Hurst, Entain’s Director of Corporate Affairs, discussed responsible gambling, the UK government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act and the relationship between the two topics.

Hurst noted that Entain has welcomed the potential regulatory changes, observing that the 2005 Gambling Act being outdated from the ‘analogue age’, adding that the modern industry is drastically different due to developments in mobile technology.

However, the Director also acknowledged that the operator further welcomed the government’s adoption of an evidence-based strategy to conduct the review, as a means of eliminating any potential bias.

Hurst remarked: “We’re also very encouraged that the UK Government are taking an evidence-led approach to it, because there are lots of people who have quite strong views on gambling, and I think we would all agree that any decision that needs to be taken has to be taken on the evidence rather than on opinions.”

“In terms of things that we’re probably likely to see, obviously this is my best guesstimate, but I would imagine that the UK Government would think about looking into areas such as shirt sponsorship, whether there should be an ombudsman for gambling for consumer redress, and hopefully technological solutions to helping these small minority of customers who have a problem with their gambling in a personalised way.”

Moving on to discuss player protection in relation to the review of the Gambling Act, Hurst shared her belief in the leveraging of player feedback to inform both operator and public policy. 

A notable initiative Entain has introduced is the use of Player Panels, established by the FTSE 100 firm to ‘give a voice’ to bettors, ensuring that their opinions are heard during the debates. 

“They are doing that all off their own back, they don’t get paid for it,” Hurst added. “They don’t have any financial benefit for maintaining the deal, but they do it because they like what they do as part of their entertainment, and they want to make sure that their voice is heard.”

Furthermore, she observed that during COVID-19 lockdowns, the number of customers reporting that they desired greater control over their betting and gaming spend increased from 80% to 94%.

She concluded: “I think this shows that with everybody being locked down, there is an increasing sense that people want to have control over what they’re able to control.”

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