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Path to Play: What is it, and what does it mean for the gambling industry?



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Path to Play is a new piece of research and framework developed by the UKGC to understand better what “the typical consumer journey looks like, from the beginning of a gambling interaction to the end.” The intention is a greater exploration of gamblers’ perspectives, habits and influences. This builds on earlier work by the UKGC and continues the move away from the operator and regulator perspective. According to the UKGC, it allows them to “understand how consumers experience gambling, what factors influence them, where there may be greater risks for some gamblers and identify opportunities for intervention”.

Understanding more about players’ perspectives

The Path to Play study included 937 participants who had been gambling in the last 12 months. The sample included varying types of gamblers as ​​participants were a range of; ages, GB regions, socioeconomic groups, life stages, ethnicity and PGSI ratings. The Path to Play framework indicates key milestones and stages gamblers go through. It’s not a one-size-fits-all model, recognising that gamblers are not all the same and experiences differ. 

There are six phases included in the framework

  1. Passive influences (underlying attitudes and perceptions of gambling)
  2. External triggers (nudges that prompt consideration of play)
  3. Internal impulses (motivation/reason to gamble)
  4. Active search (production selection process)
  5. Gaming experience (how playing goes),
  6. Game outcome (impact of winning or losing). 

The steps are sequential, aside from external triggers (like bonuses and promos) and internal impulses (such as laying a bet during a match to increase excitement or visiting a casino to celebrate an event or pass the time), which can take place at any time.

According to the research, different factors influence players more or less at different stages. For example, special offers, direct communications and winning experiences significantly influence people to gamble, as do popular events like the World Cup or Premier League. Meanwhile, other factors, like advertising and sponsorships, are much less consequential and, therefore, categorised as “background noise”.

Problem gamblers highlighted

The research showed that problem gamblers were far more susceptible to influences and triggers throughout the framework stages than those categorised as not at-risk. This was especially true for passive influences, which can include day-to-day interactions, upbringing and past experiences, to name but a few.

The role of safer gambling messages

It also questioned whether safeguarding techniques worked, finding that responsible gambling messages and warnings had little impact despite being seen regularly. Spending limits are currently under-utilised, with only 7% of consumers employing them, despite many going into a gambling session with a budget in mind.

What does Path to Play mean for the gambling industry?

The study aims to assist the UKGC in creating new policies and initiatives to better address problem gambling and the industry on the whole through a better understanding of the complete journey gamblers take and what influences their behaviour. This is a commendable attempt by the UKGC to prioritise understanding players and what makes them tick. Moreover, it’s only through research like this that operators and regulators better know what safeguards work and what support players need.

In light of more recent third-party research, such as GambleAware’s commissioned Patterns of Play study, which showed that participation, spending and harm of gaming products are disproportionately concentrated in the most deprived areas of Great Britain, ) Path to Play’s qualitative, quantitative and longer-term research adds essential colour to understanding such findings. The research also compliments overall participation statistics which suggest that while slot and other casino games are less prevalent than betting, the number of problem gamblers using these games is more than double. Online slots also see the highest loss per player and are the most produced type of casino game, as shown by the number of new slots released every month. What’s more, in a time when the UK is undergoing a crisis of living costs, coupled with the pandemic’s longer-term effects, understanding what drives and influences different players is critical to creating effective regulation.

The implications of the research are not yet clear, and they come at a time when the UK is already in the process of concluding a new white paper (part of the Gambling Review, which will update gambling laws for the modern industry and is expected to cover both affordability checks and mandatory player budgets). However, as Path to Play is fresh off the think tank, it’s a little late to be taken into account in the white paper, which is expected to be released within weeks. Although interestingly, just days after Path to Play was released and ahead of the white paper, the CEO of the UKGC issued a warning to operators regarding higher levels of expected compliance and consumer protection within the industry. What remains to be seen is how often the UKGC will undertake Path to Play surveys and what practical implications the results will have for policy, safeguards and operator LCCPs.

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Alpine Esports transitions to Alpine Sim Racing, announcing partnership with G2 Esports



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  • Alpine Esports re-brands to Alpine Sim Racing in a commitment to the sport.
  • A brand-new partnership with G2 Esports formed, sharing similar goals and values to compete in an expansive range of competitions in sim racing.

A New Beginning:

With the 2023/2024 F1 Sim Racing World Championship concluded. Alpine Esports re-brands to Alpine Sim Racing to further showcase a commitment to the sport. This change will elevate the competition as the team looks to compete in an expansive list of other Sim Racing titles alongside F1.

Alpine Sim Racing x G2 Esports

This revolutionary partnership with G2 Esports will further support the commitment to Sim Racing, allowing the team to drive results at the top of the grid across multiple sim racing programs.

“It’s a very exciting time for the newly branded Alpine Sim Racing Team, this new collaboration with G2 symbolizes a new era and new hope where combined our focus will be on constant progress, a shift in priorities and vision of the past, our aim is to project Alpine Sim Racing into championship contention in the coming years” said Daniel Ritchie, Global Director Sponsorship Acquisition, at Alpine.

“This partnership promises to elevate Alpine Sim Racing’s performance and competitiveness, fuelled by G2’s expertise and Alpine’s commitment to excellence” – said David Gendry, Global Marketing & Communications Director at Alpine

“At G2 Esports, we strive for competitive excellence and we see those values mirrored in Alpine, which is why we’re excited to announce our partnership together as we work towards the future of Sim Racing. Sim Racing is an incredible opportunity for not only gaming and esports fans, but also general fans of F1 and it has the unique ability to bring multiple communities together for the love of the race and motorsports. This partnership is a turning point for G2, we believe in the future of Sim Racing and Alpine will enable us to keep bringing trophies home, with an incredibly passionate, data-driven, and technologically advanced partner by our side.” – said Alban Dechelotte, CEO, G2 Esports

“We are absolutely delighted to announce our partnership with Alpine F1. As two like-minded, forward-thinking and ambitious brands within our respective sports, It was evident from the very beginning of our conversations that the synergies between Alpine and G2 are numerous. Sim Racing is the perfect vehicle to connect fans of wider esports with the worlds of motorsport, car culture and cutting-edge technology, all of which Alpine excel within.

Alpine matches our desire to win, our desire to disrupt and improve every space we operate within, and our desire to elevate racing in all forms, whether in a digital or real-world arena. Our track record within F1 Esports is one of success and we are looking forward to returning to the grid alongside Alpine and delivering them a programme to be proud of.” – said Nathan Tague, Head of Sim Racing, G2 Esports


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Meridianbet (Golden Matrix Group, Inc) Launches AI-Powered Online Casino Game Recommender



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Meridianbet, sports betting and iGaming operator and part of the Golden Matrix Group (NASDAQ: GMGI), a developer and licensor of online gaming platforms, today announced the launch of an AI-powered casino game recommender.

This tool is designed to optimize user engagement and gaming experience and boost player loyalty.

Personalized iGaming Powered by AI

Meridianbet’s AI Casino Recommender uses advanced AI to offer personalized game recommendations based on player behavior, previous activities, demographic data, and individual preferences.

How It Works

The AI engine analyzes extensive data to identify unique player patterns and preferences, providing recommendations in two sections:

  • Games You’ve Tried: Highlights games that players have already played.
  • Games You Might Like: Introduces new games based on player behavior and preferences.

Ongoing Model Updates

The AI model is trained daily to stay current with player behaviors and preferences, ensuring accurate and engaging suggestions.

Success Metrics

Key metrics from the first month of use show:

  • 3% increase in user engagement with recommended games.
  • 9% increase in engagement with new recommended games.
  • 12% decrease in engagement with unrecommended games.

Upcoming Upgrades

Future improvements will include more detailed demographic details and playing patterns to enhance search functionality.

Unique Competitive Advantage

Meridianbet’s AI casino recommender focuses on enhancing user experience and platform ergonomics, making the gaming experience more enjoyable.

Strategic Fit and Market Potential

This feature aligns with Golden Matrix Group’s strategy to leverage advanced technology for user engagement and growth. The broader ecosystem includes:

  • Meridianbet’s sports betting and iGaming services across 18 markets.
  • RKings’ tournament business in the UK and Ireland.
  • Mexplay, an iGaming operator in Mexico.
  • GMAG, a B2B aggregator service for over 800 online casinos worldwide.


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MERKUR Community support England Hockey’s Olympic Legacy vision



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The MERKUR UK Community project which is funded by the company and its high street customers is supporting an initiative aimed at identifying the nation’s Olympiads of the future following a £10,000 award to promote England Hockey’s ‘Pick up a Stick’ campaign whose motto is Play: Celebrate: Inspire.

With the opening ceremony of the 2024 summer Olympics taking place 26 July in Paris, England Hockey is aiming to harness the momentum and profile of the Games to drive awareness of the sport and in the process to create an Olympic legacy based on increased participation at all levels.

Tony Boulton, MERKUR UK’s Director of Public and Political Relations has overseen the launch and implementation of MERKUR Community. Confirming the latest award, which takes the total generated by MERKUR Community to over £60,000 since its launch in January 2024, he said: “As a global celebration featuring athletes from 196 nations participating in 329 events across 32 sports the Olympic Games provides an unrivalled opportunity to engage with current, lapsed and most importantly generations of new players.

“England Hockey oversees the sport’s management and development, spanning from grassroots initiatives to elite-level activities and the MERKUR Community funding will go towards facilitating coaching courses so clubs can train additional members to deliver hockey sessions in the local community providing equipment for the ‘Adopt a School’ campaign and developing a tool kit of interactive digital resources.

“We are absolutely delighted to be able to help fund the work of England Hockey and encourage greater numbers to play the game regardless of their previous hockey experience.”


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