NCRG Conference: Responsible Gaming On The Internet – The Case Study

Breakout sessions at the NCRG Conference on Gambling and Addiction are a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in research on gambling disorders and responsible gaming in a smaller setting. Joachim Häeusler, the responsible gaming manager at digital entertainment (, led a Sunday-evening breakout session at this year’s conference that examined the company’s comprehensive player-protection program, as well as what the company’s goals for future responsible gaming initiatives. is the largest, publicly listed online gaming operator and a major player in all regulated European online gambling markets. The company has online gaming licenses in 10 jurisdictions, with more than three million customers per year.

The company monitors and saves all Internet transactions, which are linked to player accounts. With this information, they can collect anonymous data such as gambling frequency, volume, betting patterns, usage of responsible gaming tools, usage of payment methods and patterns in deposit and withdrawal behavior.

In 2005, collaborated with the Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, to study online gaming behavior. provided full access to anonymous gambling transaction data of approximately 100,000 customers, which had been monitored over several years. The goal of this collaboration was to create a base of scientific evidence about actual online gambling behavior to help design a more comprehensive player protection program.

The Division on Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance developed a predictive model of individualized player protection that classifies customers into three types of gamblers and offers them different levels of protection:

Type of GamblerLevel of ProtectionModerate gamblers (approximately 95 percent of customers)Informed ChoiceAt-risk gamblers (approximately 4 percent of customers)ControlProblem gamblers (approximately 1 percent of customers)Protection

Informed Choice

For players who were classified as moderate gamblers, offers informed choice for player protection. This allows players to educate themselves about responsible gaming and make decisions about their gambling behavior, based on what they learned. A responsible gaming website is located directly on the gambling portal and is accessible with one click. Players are able to see their account balance in real currency denomination of the header of the gambling website and have access to a comprehensive transaction overview. Players also can view a timer on the gambling portal to see how long they have been gambling.


Players who are classified as at-risk gamblers are provided with choices of self-limitation and partial self-exclusion, as well as self-help tools. These customers may increase their limit, but the increased limit is only effective after a delay period of three days and an additional confirmation from the player. Eighty-eight percent of customers remain at the limits they originally imposed. These customers are also monitored by for potential increases in problem gambling behavior.


Problem gamblers are provided with a two options to help them gamble responsible, and are encouraged to select the most appropriate choice for themselves that maximizes responsible gambling behavior and limit problem gambling behavior.
First, problem gamblers have the option to choose self exclusion, either temporarily (for a minimum of six months) or an indefinite period of time. If the player chooses self-exclusion, sends them a confirmation email that includes resources for counseling. These customers are also exempt from direct mailings and advertisements. Temporary self-excluders can only reopen their account after explicit confirmation. Indefinite self-excluders can reopen their account after six months with additional requirements: a case investigation and a monitoring phase with a fixed deposit limit. Indefinite self-excluders also are put on national exclusion lists.

A second option for problem gamblers is to close their account. This can be done temporarily (for up to six months) or indefinitely. These customers are referred to counseling via information on the responsible gaming website. Players who choose temporary account closures can automatically reinstate their account once the predetermined time period is finished. Those who indefinitely close their accounts can only reinstate the account after explicit confirmation from the player. also has systems in place to prevent a player from simply creating a new account.

Future of Player Protection

Before the session concluded, Häeusler stated that there is still a missing piece in player protection: early detection or problematic gambling behavior. However, is making steps to study the behavioral indicators for early detection of gambling-related problems and design “proactive player protections.”

What do you think about these player protections and methods to help players gamble responsibly? Share your thoughts in the comments below. For more recap posts from the NCRG Conference, make sure to stay tuned to Gambling Disorders 360˚.

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