Sky Betting & Gaming bets on data science to spot problem gamblers

DataIQ News

DataIQ Talent Award-winning and private equity-owned online bookmaker, Sky Betting & Gaming, has turned the skills of its data science team towards identifying problem gamblers using its products. With some 0.5% of people in England who participate in gambling having an issue, the company is using machine learning and predictive algorithms to identify behaviours which are indicative of a customer who needs intervention.

James Waterhouse, head of data science at Sky Betting & Gaming, said: “We take our responsibility to protect any vulnerable customers very seriously and so we’ve focused significant data science time and resource into this area. Academic input has proved invaluable and we’ll continue to collaborate to improve our model accuracy to better steer our operations, CRM and marketing teams in their proactive messaging and processes.”

As part of an industry-wide responsible gambling programme, customers identified as at risk will see marketing messages suppressed, deposit limits set, one-to-one customer care calls made and bespoke web pages with prominent gambling support messages delivered. To date, the company has improved the accuracy of predicting problem behaviours by 11% using previous day activity data. This generates thousands of pro-active outcomes which some 5% of the customer base may be exposed to.

Sky Betting & Gaming has also collaborated with academic psychologists to frame what problematic customer behaviour looks like, which is then modelled in the data set to identify at-risk players. The company is sharing best practices and techniques with fellow Leeds-based operator William Hill and is planning to expand its collaboration with other companies in the sector.