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GBG on the need for the gaming industry to adapt to the needs of a new audience

Millennials have been blamed for the deaths of everything from cereal and napkins to motorcycles and diamonds. The truth is that these markets have been slow to react (or haven’t reacted at all) to the needs of their millennial customers and have paid the price.

The online gaming sector has two unique challenges with millennials that operators must respond to if they want to survive. If they don’t, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

Identity crisis

Millennials’ identities are uniquely hard to verify. Many are as much as a decade ‘behind’ their parents in terms of typical ‘adult’ behaviour – such as buying a home. This makes it harder to verify their identities using traditional credit files.

Millennials are also far less likely to have a strong relationship with a traditional bank than generations before them. Some estimates say more than 30% of millennials are ‘underbanked’ or ‘unbanked’. With less banking data to go on, risk evaluation is more challenging.

Soaring house prices are a barrier to home ownership for millennials. Many are trapped in a cycle of short-term lets, moving frequently and not updating the electoral roll. Meanwhile, landline telephone usage is in serious decline – particularly among millennials.

The combination of these generational changes mean that the traditional datasets used for identity verification can often miss out millennials and generation Z customers. There’s also a tangential challenge for the sector surrounding their expectations.

Having grown up and come of age alongside the internet, millennials are digital natives. They expect interactions with businesses to be quick, slick and intuitive. Operators need to avoid introducing unnecessary friction that could sour the customer experience for millennials.

Problem gambling

As their participation increases, millennials appear to have issues with problem gambling. In June this year, the NHS opened the National Problem Gambling Clinic in London. It offers specialist help for addicts aged 13 to 25. NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the new clinic shows how seriously the NHS takes gambling addiction in young people.

But he also called on the gaming industry to do more, saying: “Tackling mental ill health caused by addiction is everyone’s responsibility – especially those firms that directly contribute to the problem.”

The chief executive has even floated the possibility of levying taxes on the sector to fund treatment for addiction. Legislators are already forcing the sector to act. Changes to Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) will help to protect underage users from being able to play by mandating that operators carry out ID checks at the start of their journeys. However, it assumes operators have robust enough checks in place to spot forged documents and falsified data.

Adapt or die

If operators are to capitalise on millennials’ appetite for gaming and avoid punitive action from government, then they must find ways to adapt. It’ll mean adopting new technologies and datasets that can address the shortcomings of traditional identity verification data sources.

With the right processes, operators can create an onboarding experience that meets their millennial customers’ high expectations, enables identity verification and monitors transactions for signs of problem gambling.

Given the highly competitive nature of the online gaming sector and the need for operators to focus more heavily on customer experience, we are involved in many different elements of the overall digital journey. It is now more apparent than ever that speed and simplicity to verify identity are crucial to our operators, even more so when considering the younger age demographics.

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Alex Lafferty GBG

Alex Lafferty is gaming director at GBG, the global identity data specialist. With deep sector experience, Lafferty works closely with GBG’s gaming clients to ensure they continue to increase customer engagement, grow their business and enable regulatory adoption. GBG helps over 70% of the Power 50 to onboard and safeguard their customers, with access to an unparalleled breadth of data and innovative award-winning solutions.

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