The Impact of GDPR on the Online Gaming Industry in Europe

How does GDPR affect you and your gaming?

GDPR, otherwise known as the General Data Protection Regulation, is a law that concerns customer personal data across the EU. It’s not just the online gaming industry, but rather a sweeping law which affects all business and organisations that hold customer data. As of May 25th 2018, hefty fines were put in place for any company, online or offline, found to be non-compliant with the new rules around the storage and usage of customer data. So: how has all this affected your online gaming experience and, more importantly, is your data safe now?

First, we need to resolve exactly why all these changes came about in the first place. The online gambling industry has always relied heavily on customer data. Online casinos and bookmakers used behavioural data to tailor offers and promotions and generally used this data to improve customer experiences. The main issue here was that these companies never asked for consent to use this data: they just went ahead and stored and manipulated your details to, as they say, improve the online experiences.

The misuse of data against those with gambling addictions was a huge discussion point approaching GDPR, and now new and improved responsible gambling rules have been put in place alongside the GDPR legislation. One important agreement that came out of the discussions was the ‘Know Your Customer’ or ‘KYC’ procedure.

The KYC process usually only fully comes into play when players at online casinos ask to withdraw winnings. KYC allows the casino to ensure no fraudulent activities are taking place by confirming customer identity. Overall, the various touch points of GDPR has allowed online gamers and gamblers to have a lot more power and control over their data.

How are online players affected?

An online gaming environment with strict and tight regulations helps ensure the safety and security of customer data. With all this in mind, it actually all comes down to consent: every online gaming site needs to make it clear which pieces of data they are asking for, how they intend to store it, why they want it, and how they intend to use it.

Everything must be totally transparent and you will find the registration process includes a lot more checkboxes that are not ‘pre-ticked’ – companies require explicit consent which means players now physically click  boxes to agree. These boxes will come with plenty of terms and conditions to read through, detailing the how’s and why’s of storing and using customer data.

One of the most important aspects of these sweeping changes is the ability for customers to withdraw their data from the company’s servers at will. It should be just as easy for you to remove your data as it is to hand your data over. This is the ‘power’ aspect that we mentioned earlier: it really is crucial in terms of gambling addiction and, in general, any reason players might have for wanting to permanently leave any casino – with their data in tow.

The Future

Fast forward to 2020 and these extra data checks and verifications are now considered standard for companies and customers alike. You now have the right to control how online sites use your details and, even though you might miss out on marketing communications and offers, at least you decide what you do and don’t receive.

Overall, GDPR has ensured that customer data is more secure and less likely to fall into the wrong hands, which helps to put minds at ease when signing up to online gaming sites.