Starting on 25 May 2018, all participants involved in the gambling industry in Europe will be bound by the General Data Protection Regulation, and this may extend to Africa. General Data Protection Regulation or simply GRPR is a set of regulations that will guide the operations of online casinos and sports betting and it also spells out how operators are to engage with their customers.
Perhaps the biggest thing to note from the GDPR is its take on how online casinos and sportsbooks are to identify their elements i.e. players. In addition to the already common forms of identification such as first names, forenames, home address, IP address and location data, online gambling sites will now be forced to also identify their elements by keeping track of players’ conduct, financial status and gaming preferences, among other factors. In addition to this, GDPR also signals how operators are to keep, disclose and transfer data.
GDPR regulations were entered into force two years back in May 2016, but its enforcement was suspended in a bid to give online casinos and sportsbooks more time to align with the new regulations.
Let’s take a look at some of the GDPR implications below.
Huge penalties for non-adherence
GDPR is a set of bold regulations that may be hard for some sports books and online casinos to adhere to. However, as Europe is making huge strides to make the online gambling industry safer, all actors involved are obliged to strictly abide by GDPR’s regulations. All actors i.e. sportsbooks and online casinos found wanting will have to pay penalties as high as 4 percent of the total global turnover of the controlling group or Euro 20 million depending on whoever is higher. As such, there is a need for all actors in the gambling industry to comply with the regulations so as to avoid incurring unnecessary huge penalties.
The GDPR regulations also state that gambling sites will now have to ask for player’s consent for the processing of their data. While this may seem like it’s already in practice, GDPR explicitly states that when obtaining the player’s consent, an online casino or sportsbook is not allowed to ask it using a written declaration which also involves other matters like the Terms and Conditions. This, in essence, means that gambling brands will have to add another checkbox apart from the T&Cs where players will explicitly grant them the right to process data.
With the new GDPR regulations, players now have exclusive ownership of their data. They can ask to be provided with all of their data that online casinos and sportsbooks have. This not only includes information such as name and location, but also includes financial conditions and gambling history. Sportsbooks and online casinos are to provide this data at no additional cost. In addition, players now have the convenience of transferring this data from one online casino to another or one sportsbook to another at no additional cost. This means new online casinos and sportsbooks can target and lure players from other sites by simply offering lucrative and attractive bonuses and promotional offers. Established gambling sites like these will have to counter by offering the same, therefore players are to benefit at the end of the day.