The Independent Gambling Authority (IGA) for South Australia has published a report by SACES on the Automated Risk Monitoring (ARM) system at the Adelaide Casino.
In May 2014, the Adelaide Casino (part of the Skycity Entertainment Group) was permitted to operate a cashless gaming system provided an ARM system and a pre-commitment system were also operational.
The ARM system detects, and allow Casino staff to intervene in, apparent or suspected cases of problematic gambling, which is defined as experiencing difficulties in limiting money and/or time spent on gambling, leading to adverse consequences for the gambler, others or the community.
The system currently alerts Adelaide Casino staff to players who have engaged in four, six or eight hours of continuous play, or have exceeded a pre-set dollar turnover within a given time of play (a ‘hot player’ alert). The system applies to automated or semi-automated gaming, not to table games.
The Casino’s pre-commitment system allows patrons to set their own limits on the maximum amount they wish to spend gambling during a single visit. The ARM and pre-commitment systems run in parallel and are not connected.
The IGA commissioned SACES to review the extent to which the ARM system at Adelaide Casino was compliant with the 2014 agreement.
The Casino is expected to respond to risk alerts, which are sent as notifications to staff smart phones and desktop computers. Alerts trigger a sequence of actions, reflecting the level of concern about a player’s behaviour. They range from non-interactive observation of player behaviour, direct engagement with players, reviewing electronic records (to ascertain the patron’s recent playing record and typical playing behaviour, if a registered player), and, if necessary, initiating a process of case management or barring the player.
Alert records showed that:
- The Adelaide Casino dealt with approximately 5,000 alerts in 2015 and again in 2016.
- Pre-commitment was rarely availed of and typically used for low value gambling.
- The vast majority of time alerts were triggered by players who were gambling using loyalty cards; in contrast, ‘hot player’ alerts were typically triggered by anonymous players.
The study found that, generally, the Adelaide Casino was meeting the specification required and outlined in the agreement with the IGA, with some areas for improvement:
- Staff were found to have a good understanding of the ARM system, its purpose and actions required from staff in response to alerts.
- For 6 and 8 hour alerts, desktop reviews were the most frequent action taken; whereas player observation was the principal action in response to 4-hour alerts; responses to ‘hot player’ alerts, however, were not recorded.
- Time lapse between an alert and staff action was typically within the 5 to 15 minutes stipulated by the agreement between IGA and the Casino; but response times varied greatly and, for some time alerts, no responses were recorded.
- There was a risk that problematic gambling might not be detected as the ARM system was unable to identify multiple sessions played at different gaming machines by a player not using a loyalty card.
- During the first three years of operation, there was not evidence that the ARM system had reduced the incidence of problematic gambling; however, Casino staff argued the system had directed their attention to players and player behaviours that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The report makes a number of recommendations to improve the operations of the ARM system, including
- Ensuring all alerts are attended in person (and not limited to a desktop review)
- Actions following ‘hot player’ alerts are logged.
- Recording and analysis of time spent gambling and betting volumes in order to get a better understanding of how the two gambling risk indicators relate to alert types, and to validate alert thresholds.
The report can be downloaded from the IGA website here.