Rank trials Experian affordability check service

28 January 2019

Rank Group is to trial a new affordability check for gaming websites launched by Experian, the consumer financial data service provider.

The owner of the Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino brands will become the first gaming operator to roll out the Open Banking service in the coming weeks with a view to helping customers to only gamble within their means. Experian said it is in talks with several other major operators who are interested in adding the service.

Experian’s Open Banking service allows gaming companies to access financial data of those customers that opt in, such as disposable income, weekly income and expenditure, and how much they spend with other gambling websites.

Gaming companies may then work with specific customers to assist in setting rules and limits whereby they only spend what they can afford to, limiting the risk of gambling-related harm.

Customers can be automatically accepted, declined or referred to their in-house responsible gambling team to help manage their spending.

Rank said it is eager to embark on the proof-of-concept trial to better understand and manage customer risk.

“Rank Group welcomes this initiative,” said the operator's director of customer diligence Rory Howard. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for gaming organisations to work collaboratively with an organisation such as Experian which is licensed to use Open Banking.

“The automated exchange of data in association with advanced analytics will enable us to help our customers gamble within their means.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) granted Experian permission to offer Open Banking and PSD2-related services in June. With a customer’s consent, Experian can use current account information to help organisations understand which products and services will be most suitable.

Experian said the affordability check can be made at the most appropriate point for customers, such as when there is a change in their account behaviour or specific behaviour may indicate an increased risk.

Tom Blacksell, managing director of B2B at Experian, said: “Innovative Open Banking services can help the gaming industry to protect its customers from problem gambling. People who choose to share data can prove they are gambling at a level they can afford, while gaming companies can meet their responsibilities to keep customers safe.

“Experian is already in discussions with a handful of the biggest gaming companies in the UK, who can see the importance of this affordability check. It is one of many new services we are working on to bring the benefits of data sharing to businesses and their customers.”

Last year the Gambling Commission outlined plans to consult with the industry about enhanced customer due diligence checks. It suggested that operators could be required to set limits on players’ spending which could only be increased once they had further verified information about the player, for example via an affordability check.

iGamingBusiness.com understands that the consultation on customer due diligence requirements has recently completed with the findings soon to be published. The specific consultation on the setting of limits on players’ spending until verification takes place will commence soon.