HIGHLIGHT REPORT Focal ALeRT™ Affordability Index
The Invisible At-risk Player – Identifying customers spending beyond affordable limits.
Regulators recognize that some gamblers spend more money than they can afford while gambling, leading to negative consequences, including the use of misappropriated funds to finance the activity. Identifying these customers has become a priority for operators but poses several challenges as affordable limits vary strongly between players. The use of rule-based thresholds for triggering action, such as amount spent, are very inefficient in finding the right people; if set too low most of those reaching a certain spending threshold will not be in the target group, if set too high, then most of those in the target group will be missed. As a result, such broad approaches are ineffective in reaching or producing improved outcomes for players most likely to be overspending. To address the gap and supplement operator host responsibility efforts, in 2015, Focal Research Consultants Limited initiated original research to develop algorithms designed to find those most likely to be spending beyond affordable limits. Risk detection is based on player behaviour and play decisions regardless of the absolute amount of money spent. Focal developed a new Affordability construct for the FocaL Adult Gambling Screen (FLAGS), a seven-item scale to identify those players most likely to be spending beyond their means and to be obtaining cash to do so in non-traditional ways. During testing, the new scale was administered to over 10,000 regular EGM players from three different countries (UK, AU, NZ) representing 8 different operators and over 300 venues. Using these datasets, Focal developed effective algorithms and profiles for accurately detecting and assisting at-risk ‘Overspenders’. These customers pose unique risk to communities and operators and would otherwise be invisible to operators when using rule-based or other methods of detection.