Tighter regulations and greater competition have left operators wondering how to make their mark in sustainable and responsible gambling. The use of real-time data has the capacity to advance business objectives across the board, explains Stephen Borg.
Stephen joined GiG in 2019 as Director of Data, he has over nine years of experience of working within data, specialising in building warehouses, using managed services and Big Data and AI. He is a certified AWS solutions architect and throughout his career Stephen has worked closely with brand operations, affiliates, poker managers, casino and sports and CRM managers working with the likes of NetRefer, 3BetGaming, Betsson AB and Cerberus Technology.
As regulations related to player protection become more and more stringent, operators are increasingly finding they are being required to provide real-time insights to meet the requirements of regulators.
To help them meet this demand, GiG’s real-time data platform has recently incorporated responsible gambling features that allow operators to better predict and act on problem gambling.
With GiG’s new player safety services, if a user demonstrates patterns of problem gambling, the platform will notify an operator immediately.
To do this the data platform relies heavily on machine learning, explains GiG’s director of data Stephen Borg. “Machine learning on top of a streaming foundation is what enables predictability when it matters. Rather than using information that is stale, we wanted to provide insights when it matters the most. It’s no use knowing that a customer is displaying signs of problem gambling a day after the event has already taken place.”
The specific actions taken will depend on the situation and the partner’s individual approach. For example, the operator may opt to send an automated communication to users or take some other action, depending on their processes and the requirements of the regulators. “You want to ensure that you are providing technology that offers options aligned to where your company wants to be,” says Borg.
In the short term, the platform helps customers feel supported and allows operators to maintain a customer-centric approach; in the long term, it helps operators avoid penalties and in the worst case, potential licence suspensions.
“When you have a data platform with a strong foundation, it is possible to continue innovating and adding features to support our partners’ challenges.” Borg continues.
The player safety features sits on top of a governance framework within the data platform supported with rich documentation, a glossary of key performance indicators together with assurance of data integrity and consistency. Essentially, he says, real-time data cannot be managed effectively without a proper system of governance in place. The platform helps operators develop well thought-out policies and procedures based on the real-time insights they receive.
“One of the challenges that we wanted to overcome with real-time data is around governance. We want to help partners be proactive through valuable insights. We aim to help them work out exactly how to use real-time data,” says Borg.
Access all areas
One of the challenges of some software solutions is that they are not widely accessible, however Borg says the overarching aim of GiG’s real-time data platform was to make a single product that could be used across an entire organisation.
“Rather than going into multiple systems, we wanted to create a single portal where both tech and non-tech people can access data in a simple way,” says Borg.
Because the insights are accessible to different team members, there is more scope for shared understanding of the data within an operator’s business.
To design this accessible experience, GiG carried out research internally at first, before moving on to multiple focus groups. These groups provided insights on what people in different roles wanted to get out of real-time data technology.
“It isn’t a case of one-size-fits-all, but rather, we had a screen for everyone – executives, finance, acquisition and retention professionals, marketing – and worked to create an engaging exercise that helps to align the features with their different objectives.”
Borg highlighted the internal mechanics driving the data platform and the importance of having a shared mindset. This sense of a strong company culture and shared vision enabled GiG to establish defined goals and work towards them with clarity of intention.
“It was very important that the entire team had the same mindset and understood what we were trying to build – the objectives and the strategy of what we’re trying to achieve,” Borg elaborates.
The investment of research and training was key for the project’s success. Raising awareness and having a strong team of data experts paved the way for delivering a product tailored to the iGaming markets needs. Ultimately company culture and having a team with the right mindset was the key pillar of success for the data platform, as it is for any new product.
Focus on flexibility
Another key area of focus for the data platform’s design was flexibility. The platform has been built with a flexible approach so that it can be tailored to operators specific data needs.
“If the implementation of new technology takes too long and is too complex, it can hinder an operator’s entire strategy. We set out a clear roadmap with our partners so we know what they want to get out of their data platform and when they want to get it,” says Borg.
“We do provide transactional data to our partners, but they might also have proprietary analytics which they want to keep in-house, and this is possible via the platform. It is also flexible enough to allow partners to pull out data sets they may have from other businesses and join these together to measure the success of their brand.”
While the most recent addition to the platform may have been responsible gambling, player safety is just one of the features GiG plans to have incorporated into the platform going forward. Looking to the future, Borg reveals that GiG plans to expand its features with a focus on AML, and to continue building on the sustainability area of the product.
“It’s important for us to help our partners succeed with our technology. Predictability is essential on the data front, and equally in what we can provide to our partners. We believe in the technology and our priority is working to meet all of our partners’ data needs.”