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Martin Burt: CEO of ClearStake
By Bill Barber, Industry Editor
The issue of affordability tests is still hanging on the gambling sector, but the team behind ClearStake, a company backed by industry professionals, believes they have a solution to make the process much easier for bookmakers and bookmakers.
Affordability checks were expected to appear in the government’s gambling review white paper, but although there are reports that the Liz Truss government may scrap reform plans, that doesn’t mean the problem will go away.
The Gambling Commission has stressed the need for betting operators to conduct such checks, which has resulted in their clients being required to provide personal financial information in order to continue betting, often resulting in the client moving elsewhere.
ClearStake It uses open banking to allow customers to share their financial information instead.
CEO Martin Burt founded the company in 2019, and investors include Olly Slipper, co-founder of the Perform Group, Cormac Barry, former CEO of Australian subsidiary Flutter Entertainment’s Sportsbet, and Paddy Power of the betting industry family.
Burt said, “I just saw a problem that I thought would be really fun to solve. I have a lot of friends in the industry and have heard frustrations on the players side and the player side. I’ve seen the way the industry is doing these things right now and I’ve seen the direction of travel.”
“I said, wait, in the fintech world, that’s how they do it. They just click a button and swipe, all the analysis is done and yes, you can get your own mortgage, and yes, you can get your car financing. Why is that done? Is this not happening here?”
Burt describes current customer affordability assessment methods, which are required to provide information such as bank statements that a compliance officer has to go through, as a “horrific experience for both operator and player.”
“The main thing is that 70 to 80 per cent of people are going to mess around before they even send their bank statements,” he added.
“We are talking about very meaningful numbers for operators and they are by definition the high spenders who are screwing around because you’re not asking £5 from customers for their bank statements. That adds to the loss of some pretty serious and potentially dangerous revenue.
“We can reduce the inefficiency and save a lot of money for the operators at the same time, but then also give the players a really good experience because at the moment they have a terrible experience.”
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The Gambling Commission has emphasized to operators the need to conduct checks
ClearStake allows customers to share their financial data through open banking – agreeing to share information from their bank with the relevant gambling operator – although it also enables customers to share traditional data.
Once loaded, ClearStake calculates customer income and expenses to determine affordability, highlighting risk indicators such as high gambling spending, large debt repayments, interest, or other unusual transactions.
It then recommends that a decision be made, with each case stored so that evidence can be provided should the Gambling Commission so request.
“What we’re basically about is to give the player a really simple way to share their financial data with one or two clicks,” Burt said, and then allow the player an easy, simple way to analyze that data accurately and very quickly. decision and refer that decision to the client.”
Burt said ClearStake was not on a crusade for affordability checks.
“We don’t ever pay for more affordability checks, we’re just saying you guys have a problem now, we have a solution,” he said. “We are here to help.”
He added, “Operators are our customers and we are trying to help the industry and operators evolve to a place where they can do these things with ease, bets from people but protect people who need protection.”
Burt admitted that they have received opposition from those who believe players will not share their data but he does not think that is the case.
“In other sectors, people are very quick to share their financial data,” he said. “It’s demographic driven of course. The younger generation will share their data with the click of a button, and the 70-year-old might not. But then again the trend of travel is only one-way.
“In other industries, people are very happy to share their financial data – mortgages, leasing and insurance all use open banking, and as this has become a natural, we think players will be happy to do so.
“There are some people who don’t want to share their financials, the time period, and that will never change. For most people, if they get an easier solution to continue what they want to do, which is to place a bet on, they will.”
Burt said ClearStake was in “very sophisticated discussions” with operators, adding: “The reaction has been quite candid, from just about every operator, this is a product we need and it’s the best product we’ve seen.”
He added, “The trend of travel is one-way but it shouldn’t be difficult to do. It shouldn’t be hard for operators, and it shouldn’t be hard for people who want to bet.
“It’s not about snooping your money, and it’s not about bad operators trying to figure out how to make you lose a lot of money. It’s simple in other industries, so why not make it simple here?”
Kindred Group sets revenue target of £1.6 billion
Kindred Group aims to achieve annual revenue of more than 1.6 billion pounds by 2025 as the company revealed its financial goals last week.
Unibet’s parent company held a Capital Markets Day in which it set priorities including gaining more market share by being a “trusted source of entertainment” in its existing core markets, developing a strong position in the Netherlands, developing the Kindred Sportsbook platform and “building on a solid market foundation”. which was created in North America.
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Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjarnstrom
“We have been a driving force in the transformation of the industry and understood early on the requirements to succeed in a locally regulated and complex environment,” said CEO Henrik Tjärnström. Full confidence in the direction we are going.
“It is also encouraging to see the progress being made in developing our Kindred Sportsbook platform, with key milestones already achieved, towards a market launch set for the end of the year 2023.
“The entry into the Netherlands has also exceeded our expectations and we are on track to reach our ambition of capturing a market share of 15 per cent by the end of the year.”
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