In today’s tight regulatory environment for UK-licensed gambling operators coupled with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into play on May 25th, European-facing operators are dealing with unchartered territory when it comes to compliance.
The UKGC’s new age verification and affordability checks and the looming GPDR are often seen as pain points for operators, but Andy Masters of XCM, an expert in data-driven, cross-channel marketing, views these compliance requirements as an opportunity to improve player health and overall experience.
Masters and his team at XCM work with a number of UK and Gibraltar-based iGaming companies (with plans of expansion into Malta in Q3/Q4) and come equipped with many lessons learned from analytics, responsible gaming and customer journey management.
“The iGaming industry is an extremely data-rich environment so we have a genuine opportunity to have a view of a customer based on their individual clicks of a mouse almost in real time”, Masters shared with CalvinAyre.com.
“From that perspective, we have an ability to track their behavior and tracking their behavior can help them make informed decisions around responsible gambling, GDPR and everything else”, he added.
Any operator licensed by the UKGC is used to tight regulations, but the GDPR is a beast of a different nature, to the point where conference sessions and even entire conferences have been dedicated to the subject.
We all know the iGaming industry doesn’t like change, but according to Masters, operators are exhibiting more apprehension than necessary at the moment.
“I think there’s a lot of panic, there’s two different views of the world. There’s the operational effectiveness view of the world, there’s CRM and there’s the lawyer’s view of the world and we know lawyers like to keep things black and white”, he shared.
“So I think there’s a lot more fear in the industry that I think needs to actually exist. Certainly when working with our clients, they seem to be a lot further ahead than they think they are which is a really positive thing”, Masters added.
“Also its an opportunity for the compliance teams to work with CRM teams, to ask the basic question, ‘If I’m marketing to you, is it in legitimate interest to me as a punter?’ and if the answer to that is ‘yes’, then there is absolutely no problem. That’s the beauty about GDPR”, he explained.
Using data to achieve a Single Customer View (SCV), when all the data held on a customer is stored on one record in a database, is one way to improve age verification and affordability checks as well as remain compliant with GDPR requirements.
Masters advises operators to achieve a SCV coupled with what he refers to as a “Customer’s Single View” (CSV), when punters are able to control the type of marketing they receive. By doing combining the two, operators will gain a competitive advantage and remain ahead of the regulatory curve.
“There is an opportunity. An engaged customer is a profitable customer and I think getting CRM and compliance working together gives the punter the opportunity to say, ‘Listen, I don’t really want to play roulette on a Saturday night after I’ve been to the pub for a couple of beers, but I want to bet £50 on my football team so give me an odds piece, I’m happy to receive that’”, explained Masters.
“[A customer] might not necessarily want to receive an SMS after six o’clock or at weekends, but I think if a customer can give us much more detail preferences, they’re going to be a happier punter, going to spend within their limits by their own restrictions, without moving to a point where they’ve become self-exclude”, he said.
“Obviously coupling that with responsible gambling procedures and models that are running in the background to make sure that people are not actually chasing debts and we can see that from deposit and withdrawal ratios and stuff like that. So, I think it’s a good opportunity to re-engage and hyper-engage with customers”, he added.
All in all, Masters’ message was a positive one and if operators and customers are able to work together through these new compliance challenges, we as an industry can shift our view on these changes from pain point to competitive advantage.
“[Operators and customers working together] with all the other checks I think makes a happy customer and it drives value in the future for the iGaming company and obviously it increases the fun for the punter”, Masters said.