Ian Proctor, the new chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, has admitted that operators now have a “moral responsibility” to crunch customer behaviour data to understand how problem gambling can develop.
Proctor was confirmed as the new CEO earlier this month, replacing the long-serving Richard Flint, after a $4.7bn (£3.6bn/€4bn) takeover by The Stars Group was finally approved by the UK’s competitions regulator.
Proctor acknowledged that the gambling sector “is not the flavour of the month” and suggested that, in parallel with increasing levels of regulatory scrutiny, there had been a shift in responsibility for player behaviour away from the individual and towards the operators.
“Responsible gambling is important to me,” Proctor, who said that technology would play a vital role in identifying the signs of problem gambling, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It’s an emotive topic at the moment. We [the industry as a whole] have not done ourselves any favours. A few years ago, everybody who worked in the industry would have considered that it was up to the customer as an adult to make choices.
“That was the mantra. The shift has been to an almost paternalistic model where there is a moral obligation to think about affordability.
“This is not just about problem gambling. It goes further than that, because people can develop problems over time. We don’t want people to spend beyond their means.
“Working in an online business, the access that we have to customers’ data can help us understand people’s spending patterns. We have got this rich information about customers and that’s the starting point for all of this.”
Proctor suggested that players could be provided with a daily, weekly or monthly profit-and-loss account.
The new CEO added that he hopes to add more recruits to the company’s base in Leeds, UK.
“We’ve grown from 300 to 400 people five years ago to 1,500 people in Yorkshire,” he said. “It’s the place you would like your son or daughter to work. That’s the acid test. It cuts through all the rest of the noise.
“The average age of the staff is around 32 years old. We’ve taken an average of 40 graduates a year each year over the last few years.
“There’s a significant market share to be gained, there is still headroom left in the UK. There are new customers coming to the sector.”
Image credit: Sky Betting & Gaming