LeoVegas’ Paul Dixon calls for “more cross-operator collaborations” as he discusses safer gambling

By Dominic Marius-Markham

Dominic Marius-Markham speaks with Paul Dixon, Managing Director UK at LeoVegas Group, about the company’s new AI-powered, personalised deposit limits for UK-based players, as well as its broader efforts concerning safer gambling.

Can you give us a brief overview of what the new personalised deposit limits entail? How do they function from a player’s perspective?

We take sustainability seriously at LeoVegas, and do our very best to offer a safer gambling experience. The new personalised deposit limit is an important part of this, as it’s helping us to develop more sustainable relationships with our customers. I’m especially proud of it because it’s seamless for us and the players. As soon as the player makes a deposit — whether it’s their first, or one of many — a process runs instantly in the background to set a fixed limit.

These personalised limits don’t affect the playing experience, but any players that show signs of developing harmful gambling behaviour, or players whose financial indicators suggest they shouldn’t play, or players who have already reached their limits, are immediately blocked from depositing funds. If a player feels that a limit should be adjusted, they can contact customer service and we carry out an enhanced manual affordability check.

What do you mean by third-party data and how is it obtained? Did you encounter any initial difficulties, perhaps related to GDPR, when acquiring/using this data?

As a mobile operator, data is naturally at the core of everything we do. We already use internal data, machine learning and AI extensively to support our drive to create sustainable customer relationships. By using third-party data, we are now adding another layer to our safer gambling efforts. We use data from a top credit reference agency in the UK to identify potential risk at an earlier stage of our relationships with customers.

As soon as a player tries to deposit funds, we send a request to the agency and receive the latest data held on that customer, which is then fed into our proprietary risk prediction model to be analysed. The data we receive is GDPR compliant, of course, and data security and privacy are naturally very important to us too. We’ve been really happy with the rollout of this functionality.

If possible, could you give us a brief explanation of your risk prediction model? What behaviours are you looking for when defining whether or not a player is at risk?

Our risk prediction model takes numerous data points into account. As well as financial information, we look at non-financial factors such as demographics and historical player behaviour. The data points are also continuously updated and aligned to regulatory requirements. We see it as an enhanced safety net that makes the experience on LeoVegas’ brand websites safer.

We also use the model and data in other ways, such as to inform the on-site messages that educate and inform customers about our safer gambling tools. And the beauty of it is that, as we gather more player data, our AI and models get progressively more advanced through machine learning. It’s also clear that players that engage in a more sustainable gambling behaviour are less likely to overspend. Ultimately, they can focus on just enjoying themselves - and that’s exactly what we want!

What has the general reaction been like to these new personalised deposit limits? Have you seen a measurable reduction in problem gambling rates or similar indicators?

We are very happy with the response! As I was just saying, the personalised limits are yielding results as they are keeping our players gambling more sustainably, within their limits. We’ll continue to monitor and evaluate our safer gambling tools and adapt and develop them as we learn more about their effectiveness.

What prompted you to introduce personalised deposit limits and could you speak a bit more about LeoVegas’ other efforts in regard to safer gambling?

I said before that safer gambling is one of our top priorities, and these personalised deposit limits are one part of developing more sustainable relationships with customers. There is no easy “one-stop-shop” way of solving harmful gambling behaviour, which is why we have a range of tools that we apply and develop continuously. Our toolkit of innovations and fine-tuned technologies really play important roles. 

AI, personalised limits and automatic risk prediction models enable us to refine customer interactions and tailor them to our customers’ specific circumstances and needs. This increases their effectiveness — something that’s really important — and creates a better customer experience overall. We also have to keep in mind that safer gambling is not just about players’ behaviour but also how the industry operates and works together to improve holistically.

Do you believe that problem gambling and gambling-related harm is the most pressing issue facing the industry right now? Is there anything you would like to see more of in regard to safer gambling from an industry-wide perspective?

Gambling-related harmful behaviours are something we, as an industry, will always need to be mindful of, and take measures to address, and we have definitely made strides in the last few years and stepped up our efforts to deliver safer gambling.

Technical innovations will continue to be important. I’d like to see more cross-operator collaborations, so we can share insights, best practices, and generally get better at aligning our tools for the greater good of safer gambling. I also think that we need increased independent and scholarly research on these topics, as well as fact-based discussions.

Finally, are there any exciting developments on the horizon from LeoVegas that we should be on the lookout for?

As a group, we are investing a lot in product development and technology so we can be really confident that we’re delivering the greatest gaming experience. Apart from the safer gambling-related tools that we launched earlier in the year; we’ve recently started rolling out better payment options for customers in the UK using “open banking”.

This means our customers can deposit faster and pay-outs can be made faster, while benefiting from increased security. We were the first in our sector to roll out open banking in the UK, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out in other markets too.

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