More than half of mobile sports bettors in the US earn $100,000 or more annually. But TransUnion suggests that online sportsbook operators better know their customers.
Chicago-based TransUnion, one of the “Big Three” credit agencies, decided to venture into the US gaming industry last year following 12 years of monitoring gaming in the UK and Europe. TransUnion has since provided insights into the casino and online gaming industries, with its latest research focused on internet sports betting participation.
TransUnion found that though most sports bettors wagering online in the US have hefty salaries, the purchasing power of those incomes has been lessened by inflation. Rising costs for everything from milk to electricity has resulted in some mobile sports bettors voicing concerns as to whether they’ll be able to pay their monthly bills in the immediate future.
While 54% of mobile sports bettors make a six-digit salary, 79% told pollsters that they were concerned with their ability to pay their current bills, loans, and other debts in full in the months ahead. That’s far higher than the 52% of the general population that is worried about their liabilities, TransUnion said.
Customer Insights Needed
The TransUnion study, which was conducted by third-party research firm Dynata, came to the conclusion that sportsbook platforms should know more about their online customers’ finances.
It’s important in the current economic climate for operators to better understand their players and to encourage responsible and sustainable play,” Declan Raines, head of US Gaming at TransUnion, told Casino.org in an interview.
Raines added that state regulators might be smart to require that licensed online sportsbooks conduct affordability assessments on players — something that is common in the UK and Europe. Affordability checks, which provide operators with a deeper understanding of a player’s personal finances and financial well-being, could allow online sportsbooks to reach more educated conclusions in determining how much a customer can afford to wager.
Raines also believes operators must better inform their customers about responsible gaming resources and programs that are available. The belief is that would better assure that their sports betting activity remains fun and a form of entertainment. Paired with affordability assessments, the TransUnion Gaming exec feels that would better safeguard consumers and limit gambling’s potential societal harms as the industry continues its reach on the internet.
TransUnion naturally circled the mobile sports study back to what it does best — analyzing the data and information as it relates to credit. And for the mobile sports bettors who are concerned about paying their bills, the rating house stressed the importance of minding one’s credit health.
“Payment history and credit utilization rate, a measure of how much of available credit someone is using compared to their total credit limit, are two of the major credit scoring factors,” explained Margaret Poe, head of consumer credit education at TransUnion. “Missing payments and running up credit balances can have a severe, negative impact on a consumer’s credit score.”
Raines says the financial resiliency of mobile sports bettors is already being tested amid record inflation. And though the majority of bettors are likely continuing to play responsibly, more oversight would prove valuable.
“At face value, most of the consumers engaging in mobile sports betting can likely afford to do so. At the same time, our findings demonstrate how important it is, especially during a time of economic uncertainty, that operators utilize comprehensive data to identify both resilient and distressed consumers.
“Doing so can help operators protect players and provide a safer experience to consumers engaged in regulated betting,” Raines concluded.
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