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Westpac NZ Introduces Gambling Account Block to Support Customers

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Westpac NZ has introduced an account block to support customers struggling with online gambling.

Louisa Brock, Westpac NZ Manager Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability, leads the bank’s Extra Care team and says the optional block is something customers have been asking for.

“We know gambling can become an addiction for some people, at which point it can cause significant harm. By introducing the gambling block, we’re empowering our customers to stay in control of their finances,” Ms Brock says.

From 26 June to 25 September 2023, Westpac customers spent $136.8 million with online gambling merchants (compared with $3.2m spent at physical gambling locations in that period). Nearly half of that online spend was with TAB and Lotto, with the remainder distributed among various online gambling businesses.

“While the block only applies to online transactions, our data shows that the majority of gambling spending does take place online. We’ve updated our website to let customers know that the block’s available if they’re looking for support with a gambling problem,” Ms Brock says.

Westpac customers can call the bank or visit a branch to request a gambling block – the block will then be applied to all their credit/debit cards.

When the block is in place, it means a customer can’t use their card for online transactions with gambling businesses (the transaction will be declined). The block doesn’t stop transactions at physical gambling locations, such as casinos or buying a lottery ticket at a retail outfit. Once the block has been set up, it will stay in place for a minimum of three months before a customer can request to remove it.

Ms Brock says Westpac has already had feedback from customers that the block can make a difference.

“In one example, a customer received an inheritance payment of more than $100,000, then over the next 12 days spent more than $15,000 gambling online,” Ms Brock says.

“When the customer was told that we could put a block on their account to help them manage their spending, they jumped at the opportunity. The customer told our team that they were desperate to quit gambling, but found it difficult to control on their own.

“Admitting you have a problem is a really brave thing to do. Letting customers know that the gambling block is available hopefully makes it easier for them to have those conversations with our teams, as well as empowering our people to best support our customers.

“As well as introducing the gambling block, we’ve trained our customer-facing teams to have constructive conversations with customers who may be struggling with gambling. Our people can also work with these customers to structure their accounts to limit gambling spend.”

The introduction of the gambling block is the latest initiative in Westpac’s Extra Care programme of work. Earlier this year, Westpac NZ launched the use of an interpreting service to support customers who don’t speak English, and updated its bankruptcy policy to improve access to basic banking services for Kiwis going through tough times.

The bank has also worked with the Department of Corrections to make it possible for prisoners nearing their release date to open bank accounts, as well as partnered with Oranga Tamariki and advocacy organisation VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai to help young people in state care to get a bank account and access financial education.

“We’re working hard to help improve outcomes for our customers and communities,” Ms Brock says.

Industry News

Clarion Gaming and ExCeL London plan for the migration of iGB L!VE 2025 to the heart of igaming

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Clarion Gaming is advancing preparations for the migration of iGB L!VE to London in July 2025 establishing a roadmap of activities in partnership with the senior team at ExCeL London which will host the leading global event.

The latest meeting between the two organisations featured:

  • iGB L!VE Portfolio Director Naomi Barton,
  • Clarion Gaming Managing Director Stuart Hunter,
  • Head of Operations Richard Logan and
  • Head of Marketing Jody Frost with the senior team from ExCeL led by the venue’s
  • Chief Commercial Officer Simon Mills.

Expanding on the meeting Naomi Barton said: “This was the second senior level planning meeting that we have held with our colleagues at ExCeL London in order to move the home of the igaming community to a city which is the heart of the igaming industry in a country which is igaming’s largest market.

“The roadmap is being created in order to anticipate industry needs, address pain points and to exceed the expectations of customers. The migration of what is already a top performing Tier One igaming event is set against the backdrop of iGB L!VE’s 5-year growth plan which is focused on delivering 35,000 visitors and over 550 exhibitors and sponsors by 2029.

“Our vision is to harness the tremendous momentum created by the iGB L!VE brand and to take the event to a whole new level in a new venue, and a new exceptionally well-connected global home in the city of London.

“ExCeL London has a fantastic track record of helping events to fulfil their potential, and all of the building blocks are in place for iGB L!VE and its customers to accelerate their businesses to new heights in London.

She added: “Placing our customers at the heart of everything that we do is central plank to the iGB L!VE growth strategy, and the roadmap for 2025 is underpinned by a clear customer-focused programme that will ensure maximum cost-effectiveness as well as global growth for all of our stakeholders.

“We will be using July’s edition of iGB L!VE not only to reflect and celebrate our time in Amsterdam and say thank you to our fantastic partners for many years RAI Amsterdam, but also enable our vendors and customers to secure their presence at ExCeL London in 2025.”

 

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Industry News

1spin4win Unveils “Treasure Hunt” Network Promotion for Online Casinos

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1spin4win, a renowned provider of online casino games, announced the launch of its new network promotion, “Treasure Hunt”. Set to run from June 1 to 9, 2024, this thrilling event invites players on an enchanting adventure across 11 captivating games, with a total prize pool of €20,000 waiting to be claimed.

The nine-day “Treasure Hunt” promotion is designed to significantly enhance player interest and engagement, boost GGR and betting volume, and elevate the brand image of participating online casinos. Players will have the chance to win one of 515 randomly awarded cash prizes, adding an extra layer of excitement to their gaming experience.

Each bet placed during the promotion can result in a maximum of one prize, with no limit on the number of prizes a player can win. Notably, all prizes are deducted from the GGR prior to invoicing, ensuring a smooth and transparent process for operators.

The “Treasure Hunt” promotion features a stellar lineup of participating games, including Sun Treasure, Lucky Robbery, Cash the Gold Hold and Win, Cash the Gold, Mega Cash the Gold, Hold the Gold, Book of Corsairs, Lucky Jane & Aztec Book, Lucky Jane in Egypt, Lucky Gold Miner and Dolphin’s Wealth.

To cater to a global audience, all participating titles support 16 fiat and cryptocurrencies, including EUR, USD, BTC, ETH, LTC and USDT.

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Industry News

Allwyn Appoints Ifor Evans as Group Chief Technology Officer

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Allwyn announced the appointment of Ifor Evans as its new Group Chief Technology Officer. Ifor will replace Tony Khatskevich, who, after six years of dedicated and exemplary service, has decided to move from his current role as Group Chief Technology Officer and become an Advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors. In this role, Tony will focus on offering strategic counsel on innovation, technology, IT and security matters. Ifor will take up the CTO role at Allwyn on 1 June 2024.

Ifor is an accomplished CTO with over 25 years of extensive experience in software engineering, systems and data architecture, IT management and project leadership. He joins Allwyn from Gamesys PLC/Bally’s Corp, where he has been Group Chief Technology Officer since 2019 and where he developed, maintained and operated highly capable gaming platforms.

Prior to Gamesys, he held the role of Group Chief Technology Officer (Southeast Asia) for Lazada, part of the Alibaba Group, working in Singapore. He also established Lazada eLogistics (LEL) as a separate entity within the Lazada Group, and led a team of over 400 individuals to create and implement a comprehensive technology strategy.

Robert Chvátal, CEO of Allwyn Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ifor as our new Group Chief Technology Officer to continue enhancing the innovation of the lotteries we operate. Allwyn wants to make its lotteries even more entertaining and attractive to new audiences, and in doing so have even more of a positive impact on society.

“Ifor is a dynamic business leader who has an excellent track record of delivering technology solutions across the gaming and IT sector. He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness and strong experience in our markets.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Tony for his exceptional contribution and commitment to Allwyn over the past six years. He played a pivotal role in establishing a strong technology function for Allwyn, and conceived and led technology initiatives that have helped to drive innovation across the Group. In addition, Tony played a key leadership role in Allwyn’s winning bid in the UK and management of the transition. I’m very pleased that we will continue to benefit from Tony’s wisdom, knowledge, ideas and warm personality in his new role, where he will continue to help us to fulfil our business growth and ambitions.”

Ifor Evans said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Group Chief Technology Officer of Allwyn. The company’s commitment to social impact is evident across its global footprint. I look forward to helping the team to develop even better lotteries and new game formats through the power of cutting-edge technology and future thinking.”

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