Monday, 18 November 2013

Bet Buddy Wins Entrepreneurial Venture Award

Bet Buddy have been celebrating after winning the Association of MBA (AMBA) 2013 Global Entrepreneurial Venture Award. Simo Dragicevic, Bet Buddy CEO and a Cass Business School alumnus, is pictured receiving the award from Peter Cullum, a Cass alumnus who is founder of Towergate and who set-up the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund. Businesses which have received investment from the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund (Cass's £10 million venture capital fund) have now been finalists in this award category for three consecutive years.

Simo says, "We are absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious global competition. Bet Buddy has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months, winning clients in regulated markets in North America and Europe. This award provides further validation that using data the 'Bet Buddy way' is becoming increasingly important to operators in regulated gaming markets around the world.

"I'd like to give thanks to not only to the core team at Bet Buddy, but also our extended team at Cass. The business school was an important springboard for nurturing some of the concepts behind Bet Buddy. Publishing my own peer-reviewed academic research in partnership with Cass academics was critical in the early stages of the business. After graduating and starting the business, the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship has provided invaluable support. They have opened opportunities for commercial partnerships and helped us fundraise via their own venture fund, the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, and through their extensive investment network."

Nick Badman, Chair of the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship, says, "I wholly congratulate Simo on his success. We have been lucky enough to work with him since Bet Buddy's inception and to watch the business grow has been highly rewarding for the team at the Centre. "His success reflects all the hard work both he and the team at the Centre are doing. This is great achievement and validates our approach to supporting the creation of new businesses."

Saturday, 16 November 2013

New research from Bet Buddy and GTECH: Analysis of demographic and behavioural data from internet gamblers and those who self-exclude

We are very happy to announce that the latest output from Bet Buddy's and GTECH's research collaboration will be published in the Journal of Gambling Studies. This new peer-reviewed paper focuses on self-exclusion as one of the main responsible gaming interventions, and is split into three sections. Firstly, it sets out a three tier model for assessing at-risk gambling behaviours which examines player exhibited, declared and inferred  behaviour. This is an important model that we will be building on in our research projects during 2014 and beyond. Secondly, the paper presents a literature review relating to who self-excludes and whether self-exclusion is effective. Finally, it reports the results of an analysis of the exhibited behaviour of internet self-excluders as sampled from a research cohort of over 240,000 internet gaming accounts self-excluders.

Bet Buddy will be presenting the research outputs during the New Horizons in Responsible Gaming conference in Vancouver in January 2014, hosted by British Columbia Lottery Corporation. Simo Dragicevic, Bet Buddy CEO, will also be participating in a panel discussion titled Player Behaviour Panel Presentation: What Have We Learned from “Big Data” in Responsible Gaming? Does it Change the Way We Play?

Bet Buddy and GTECH have been collaborating on research into responsible gaming since 2011. This latest paper has been co-authored with  Dr. Jonathan Parke, Christian Percy and Aleksandar Kudic from GTECH. Previous research published by Bet Buddy, GTECH and City University London analysed casino data in relation to high risk behavioural markers and was published in International Gambling Studies.

Friday, 25 October 2013

International Centre for Youth Gambling: Behavioral Analytics Article

Bet Buddy has published an article in the latest newsletter of the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviours (Fall 2013, Volume 13, Issue 3). The centre is a McGill University Research Centre that is focused on research, prevention, and the training of researchers and professionals concerned with youth gambling and treatment. The article describes the principles and applications of behavioral analytics technology in gaming, discussing how researchers such as the Division on Addiction and gaming organisations, such as Bet Buddy and GTECH, have built an evidence base for by using player data was the study of actual internet player gambling data. The article then explains how this is evidence is now being used by Bet Buddy to enable lotteries and commercial operators to better protect at-risk players through the use of Bet Buddy's technology. We would also like to take the time to congratulate Dr. Jeffrey Derevensky, Founder and Director at the Centre, on winning the 2013 NCRG Scientific Achievement Award, a thoroughly deserved award!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Bet Buddy Shortlisted for AMBA 2013 Global Entrepreneurial Award

Bet Buddy is delighted to announce that it has been short-listed for the 2013 Entrepreneurial Venture Award for the Association of MBAs (AMBA). 

"We are delighted to be selected as a Finalist for this year’s Entrepreneurial Venture competition and we’re very much looking forward to the finals." Simo Dragicevic, Co-founder and CEO of Bet Buddy

The Association of MBAs is the international impartial authority on business education. Established in 1967, it sets the global standard for accrediting MBA, DBA and MBM programmes and currently accredits programmes at over 200 of the world’s best business schools in 70 countries worldwide. The awards ceremony will be hosted in London on the 6th November 2013.

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Reno Model and Informed Player Choice - What it Means Today for Gaming Operators

We have recently been inspired by a blog post by British Columbia Lottery Corporation titled 'Who's responsible for gambling responsibly' to write this piece on The Reno Model. For those unfamiliar with it, The Reno Model was developed by Alex Blaszczynski, Robert Ladouceur and Howard Shaffer and published in 2004 and sets out a framework for responsible gaming:

The Reno Model states that the ultimate decision to gamble resides with the individual and represents a choice and that to properly make this decision, individuals must have the opportunity to be informed. We at Bet Buddy agree with these principles. The model also states that unjustified intrusion is likely not the way to promote responsible gambling the gambling industry does not have the expertise or responsibility to diagnose or clinically treat individuals with gambling-related harms. Bet Buddy also agrees with these principles.

It’s worth emphasizing The Reno Model's point that to guarantee informed choice among gambling participants, the gambling industry needs to provide the minimum core information that is required for decision-making. We believe that the challenge the gaming operators face today is that technology and our understanding of behavior and risk in gaming has certainly evolved since the paper was published, so what may have been considered “the minimum core information” 5-10 years ago, such as generic information on odds and house edge for example, has most certainly evolved with opportunities to provide more individualized “minimum core information” such as individualized player messaging based on a sound scientific and evidence base of what is high risk gambling.

One of the recommendations from the model states that responsible gambling strategies should primarily target gamblers in the high risk cell, with the aim of preventing migration to the gambling-related harm cell. Whilst this makes sense, Bet Buddy believes that operators should also use research and technology to enhance operator education and prevention strategies to prevent those that are low and moderate risk from entering the high risk and problem gambler segments. Strategies such as personalized player experiences can be designed to be unintrusive and are highly scalable, whereas treatment, whilst absolutely necessary, is typically expensive and unscalable (note that in 2011/12, c.50% of the Responsible Gambling Trust's total £5m industry donations was dedicated to GamCare, the UK's biggest problem gambling treatment provider). So we think that operators should place equal emphasis on ensuring all their customers receive the right education and messages at the right time about responsible gaming, rather than focusing on the small minority who are problem gamblers.

A debate on what today “minimum core information” actually means would be a useful one to have as whilst the principles of the model remain extremely relevant, how to best implement the recommendations may not be clear to gaming policy makers, regulators and operators.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Can you find the Big Data holy grail in the Big Data maze?

The Big Data Show and Conference in London this year is co-located with Internet World and is a live exhibition for professionals responsible for Big Data strategy, analytics and technology. Bet Buddy is excited to be presenting its latest thinking on big data research and product development in the gaming industry at 12.30pm on the 25th April at the conference. We have previously blogged about what Big Data is and the challenges organizations are facing with managing what we term Data Inflation. These challenges are manifesting tremendous growth in the Big Data software and services vendor landscape (or increasingly a Big Data vendor maze):

This increasingly complex vendor landscape reflects an increasingly complex world of big data that organizations must tackle. And as more business shifts to adopting digital and eCommerce business models, we believe that more industry specific solutions will be required to manage some of the most critical parts of the organizational value chain. The largest Big Data software vendors will continue to try to gain market share by entering new analytics and operational domains, for example Oracle will compete against not only the likes of Teradata and ParAccel (in-DBMS analytics) but also against SAP and GoodData (Business Intelligence). However, we believe it will not be possible to offer best-in-class analytics solutions across all domains without having increasingly deep industry domain expertise. Whilst databases, infrastructure, and integration will remain lucrative and large addressable markets for the biggest vendors, offering solutions tailored for your organization we believe is ultimately the holy grail of Big Data for areas such as reporting, predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics. If you want to hear more about Bet Buddy's analytics solutions and services then come and join us at the The Big Data Show and Conference this month.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Moving in the Right Direction - The 13th Annual GamCare Conference

The 13th GamCare Annual Conference took place last November (2012) in London, UK. The conference hosted a panel discussion titled 'Moving in the Right Direction' which included presentations and discussions on social media, self-exclusion and social marketing. In this video Simo Dragicevic from Bet Buddy discusses proposals on strengthening the UK's self-exclusion processes to better protect consumers.

The presentation is followed by a panel discussion that was chaired by GamCare Deputy Chairman John Hagan. The panel included Professor Peter Collins, former head of Salford University's Centre for the Study of Gambling, whose talk on designing effective social marketing campaigns is also included. The other conference presentation videos, including Professor Jon Grant's session (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago), can be viewed on the GamCare website.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Thinking Fast and Slow

When we talk about giving gamblers feedback on their game play we believe it's imperative to give the players easy to use and understand tools and choices, or ‘calls to action’, especially to players showing signs of risk in their gaming. Bet Buddy’s Advisor player tools have been designed with the principles of helping players to make informed choices. When we built our player-facing software we were strongly influenced by the principles in the pioneering work on decision making by Dr. Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize winning scientist. In his latest book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman frames every day decision making in the context of two cognitive systems working in the brain: System 1 operates automatically and quickly with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control; System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. This thinking is consistent with previous blogs we have written on Nudge principles and Informed Player Choice.

There is significant research evidence in the fields of decision making to suggest that cognitive biases play an important role in every day decision making, and that specifically in the context of gaming, cognitive biases can play an important part in the development of problem gambling behaviours (see for example Jacobsen,Knudsen, Krogh, Pallesen, and Molde, 2007). Given the limitations of human cognitive processes, and the risks associated with gaming, we believe that we need to design player protection tools so that they are appealing to all players and widely used and adopted. In the context of Kahneman’s work on systems 1 and 2, some of the characteristics of both systems are outlined below:

Given these cognitive limitations in the human mind, Bet Buddy has designed responsible gaming tools that allow players to analyze and think about their gambling behaviors using intuitive and graphical features in Advisor. This allows players to assess their gambling using a number of contextual and easy to understand frameworks that help players overcome the limitations of systems 1 and 2. The human mind has many limitations when it comes to making decisions, both instinctive and thoughtful decisions, and traditional forms of player feedback in gaming such as standard player account screens were never designed with these limitations in mind. Progressive gaming operators who are focused on building long-term customer relationships now have the chance to be much more creative in how they take behavioral insights and use these insights to help players think about their game play and make better decisions.