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The Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) deputy CEO highlighted increasing micro-betting regulatory challenges in a speech at the KPMG Gibraltar eSummit 2024.

Sarah Gardner (pictured) said that subjective results generated by micro-events during in-game play has led to an increase in player disputes.

It follows the rise of Bet Builders and similar micro-betting products in recent years, which allow customers to place bets on small discrete events during a game, such as whether a player will receive a yellow card.

Gardner said: “I’m not saying these micro-markets should not exist, but we have seen a notable increase in disputes from consumers where already higher-margin, multiple-selection bets now have elements which one person might see differently, especially when it makes the difference between winning and losing.”

She outlined examples where human beings would be required to make a subjective judgement that has ultimately led to debate and argument.

For example, she pointed to whether a shot was made on target during a football match.

Technological developments such as AI could help in the future, she said, but today there is already a significant set of products leading consumers increasingly to dispute the outcomes of micro-events.

These challenges persist despite data compilers and providers having processes in place and specific rules to describe events, she argued.

Rise in hyper-personalisation: risks and rewards

She added: “An extension of this is the likely continuing journey towards hyper-personalisation.

“There are already products in development which allow the user to see an event in 3D with data easily presented which is more and more meaningful to their preferences, which you can easily imagine being converted into options rather than things which are merely interesting.”

Gardner said this personalisation may offer an opportunity to reduce “unwanted” cross-selling of products to consumers.

However, she warned that products being increasingly attuned to a consumer’s interests could lead to excessive gambling risks.   

She said: “I’m not standing here with a view or position on that, but let’s all understand these are things which will need serious thought by both the industry and its regulators.”

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