The Player Awareness Systems (‘PAS’) initiative was developed during 2015 by a working group led by the Association of British Bookmakers (‘ABB’) including representatives from Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill (the ‘operators’) as well as machine manufacturers Scientific Games and Inspired Gaming (together the ‘participants’) with the Responsible Gambling Trust (‘RGT’) and UK Gambling Commission (‘UKGC’) as observers.
PAS are a response to December 2014 research by NatCen1 , funded by the RGT that showed it was possible to distinguish between problem and non-problem gambling behaviour by players using fixed odd betting terminals (‘FOBTs’) in licensed betting offices (‘LBOs’, ‘stores’). All members of the ABB have signed up to the initiative, which is believed to be a world first in retail betting.
The NatCen research identified 15 relevant markers of harm, seven of which the new PAS developed seek to spot, with intervention triggered if at least three are associated with a customer. Different PAS use different combinations and numbers of markers of harm.
The goal is to intervene to prevent customers becoming problem gamblers, spotting those who are on a trajectory towards harmful play and intervening with messages in order to make the player aware of their own behaviour in order to halt and reverse that trend.
Operators are able to use the algorithms that form part of the PAS initiative, which are designed to identify customers displaying behaviours associated with harmful gambling and initiate earlier and targeted interactions with such customers. PAS is limited to customers who use loyalty cards as this remains the most accurate way to associate separate sessions with the same customer.
To drive innovation, each operator has been allowed to develop its own structure and processes for implementing PAS including which markers of harm to monitor. As a result there are a number of different systems in place.
PAS were launched across all licensed premises in Great Britain during 2015 with initial implementation required by December 20152.
The PAS is limited to instances where players use their loyalty cards to play in order to log all activity and attribute this to a unique player. Currently there is no way to validate that loyalty cards were not shared or that a player in possession of a loyalty card always uses the card when playing.