Paf urges problem gaming debate as players’ losses published

19 March 2019

Paf has urged rivals to disclose their customers’ annual wins and losses to open a “genuine debate” about problem gambling after revealing that a mandatory loss limit helped to reduce its players’ average account deficit by nearly 20% in 2018.

In what it has described as a unique initiative, the Åland Islands-based operator has published detailed figures about its gambling surpluses per customer group over the past two years, and has also pledged to halt direct marketing to a broader collection of players considered to be at risk.

The 2018 figures show that 31.57% of Paf customers ended the year in profit – up from 24.22% the previous year – with average winnings for those customers of €389 (£333/$441), down from €629 in 2017.

The vast majority of players – 66.74% – were categorised in a group representing losses of up to €8,000, with the average deficit in this group being €570 over the year. In 2017, 73.65% of Paf customers from this category lost an average of €604.

In what Paf has described as the “risk player” categories of those who lost at least €8,000, average losses were also reduced. Of the 1.7% of Paf customers who fell into these categories, the most noticeable improvement was in the section of those who lost more than €30,000 in 2018, with the average deficit reducing year-on-year from €44,765 to €39,870. Only 0.13% of Paf customers fell into this category.

On average, Paf customers lost €522 in 2018, 19.44% down from €648 the previous year.

In September, Paf began to roll out a new annual loss limit of €30,000 for customers, and the impact on the figures is clear, despite a 24% year-on-year increase in the number of active players, according to CEO Christer Fahlstedt (pictured).

“The figures show that the ‘loss limit’ and our tougher measures in gambling responsibility mean that we have lost over €4m in revenue annually from our big players. It is a lot of money. But it is unsustainable money that we no longer receive and which the whole gaming industry should say no to,” says Christer Fahlstedt.

“Our reduced revenues are entirely driven by a sharp reduction in the big players’ losses, but at the same time we have increased the number of players who play for smaller amounts. By being transparent we want to highlight this issue, which is absolutely crucial for the future of the industry. We urge our colleagues in the gaming industry to share their corresponding figures.”

Paf corporate communications manager Ludvig Winberg also confirmed to today (March 19) that the operator has axed direct marketing to any customers who incur losses of more than €8,000 per year. 

Paf deputy chief executive Daniela Johansson said: “Previously we did not send direct marketing to players who play for large amounts and who have been flagged for a responsible gaming reason. Now we are expanding our restrictions to more customer segments, which in practice means that we will double the number of customers who do not receive direct marketing offers from us.”

Winberg added that the loss limit will continue to be rolled out this year before the number of customers losing in excess of €30,000 per year is “guaranteed to reduce to zero in 2020”. The limit applies to all new customers already, but bringing historic accounts into line will take until this autumn, he added.

“Many companies in this industry will think this is crazy, but we want to be sustainable,” said Winberg, who described the Spelpaus self-exclusion scheme in newly-regulated Sweden as “a great set-up”. Spelpaus, which was brought in to coincide with the market opening up on January 1, allows individuals to self-exclude from receiving direct marketing or accessing websites owned by licensed operators.

Aside from the loss limit, Paf already allows customers to self-exclude and freeze their accounts for specified lengths of time, Winberg added.