Last week Iryna Fedortsova and I attended ICE, a huge gambling exhibition in London’s docklands. It was fascinating and overwhelming all at once. The show floor this year provided a global representation of the gambling industry, with 589 exhibitors from 65 countries that produced games for every jurisdiction and every gaming vertical.
The main activity of the event was to sell equipment and services to the global industry. Much more interesting were the side talks where industry experts were able to feedback their impressions on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
A big talking point all week is the issue of Problem Gambling, which we went to the show to help with. I was able to give a presentation to the Consumer Protection Zone on this topic and as a result of our presence there we learned a great deal about the current climate and difficulties facing both the gambling operators and those who are trying to protect the public.
The issue of addiction is an important one for individual welfare and for society. In every context there is a question which arises about the balance between protecting people who are assumed to be unable to control themselves versus the principle of civil liberties and the effect this may have on other people unaffected by these problems. This is very live in gambling.
NeuralSolution’s basic value proposition in general is that we can help to articulate the state of any individual’s nervous system, and therefore provide accurate information on their behaviour and likely motivations. Brining this kind of bio-feedback into a live gambling environment, like a casino or betting shop, might help the industry to differentiate between people who gamble for fun and those who are lost in an addiction which can do them real harm.
This proposal led to many conversations at ICE, ranging from the incredulous and somewhat annoyed to the delight of some regulators and even operators. We were impressed with the genuine desire of many, on all sides of this important debate, to see an outcome which disadvantaged as few people as possible, while protecting those who need it.
We look forward to articulating this solution in more detail to those who have engaged with the idea and hope to develop something of real substance to protect both the industry, its tax revenue and jobs, and people from harmful gambling.
About the Author
Benjamin Fry, NeuralSolution CEO, is the founder of Khiron House and the not-for-profit Get Stable. Both are innovative companies in the UK working in mental and behavioural health. He studied Physics and Philosophy at Oxford, has an MBA from Oxford Said and a MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling. He is also a published author and experienced television presenter