The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) wants to better understand gambling from a gambler’s point of view. To help it achieve that goal, it recently introduced its “Path to Play” research program.
The customer experience and customer-centric culture are trends that are just as present in the gambling industry as they are in any consumer activity. The UK’s gaming regulator body deployed “Path to Play” in order to know what the typical consumer journey is like.
It starts with the beginning of a game interaction to the end of the process, according to the UKGC’s description. It builds on previous work of the regulator, including its research into why people gamble, as well as its “Consumer Voice” initiative.
Through a Gambler’s Lens
The intention is to explore this journey specifically from the player’s perspective, which may be different from the perspective of an operator or regulator. The UKGC explains that this will allow for a better understanding of how consumers experience gambling and what factors influence them. It will also help the body understand where there may be greater risks for some players, as well as identify opportunities for intervention.
The goal was to create a “path to play” framework, indicating key milestones and the stages players go through when playing. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach, as the players are not homogeneous and “everyone’s experience will be slightly different.”
Instead, “Path to Play” is a framework that encompasses the moments that consumers normally experience. It also shows how gaming experiences can differ for different people or in different contexts.
The methodology behind the initiative began with three components: the scoping phase, qualitative exploration of the gambling journey, and a quantitative validation phase. The process is ongoing, with surveys and studies helping create the results.
There the six phases of “Path to Play” –passive influences, external triggers, internal impulses, active search, gaming experience, and game results. The UKGC explains that each follows the previous phase, with the exception of “external triggers” and “internal impulses.” These can occur at the same time.
External triggers are items such as special offers and bonuses. Internal impulses can include things like betting on a sport to increase the excitement level, or visiting an online casino to pass the time.
The Final Objective
The goal of the entire exercise is to allow the UKGC to formulate new ideas to guide its policy creation. It will also allow it to implement initiatives to address problem gambling and proactively identify any potential pitfalls.
There is no definitive timeline for “Path to Play” to conclude its research, or if it will be a routine component of the regulator’s operations. However, the UKGC points out that it will “explore the data and findings” on a regular basis. It will then provide updates in the following months.
“Path to Play” is starting its marathon race just as the UK is concluding its draft of updated gambling laws. The government’s white paper is due in the coming weeks. As a result, there’s a chance that much of the UKGC’s research won’t factor into the new laws.
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