Ohad Narkis, from PlayOJO, on why online casino operators need to up their game when it comes to being responsible for the health and happiness of their players
PlayOJO has taken a no bullshit approach to its brand, voice, and proposition. We were made for the player, and believe in being as open and transparent with them as possible. That means no shifty small-print, no lengthy T&Cs, and no ridiculous wagering requirements attached to bonuses and prizes. We just offer real money, and real play. It’s as simple as that.
Our system, OJOplus, pays players money back on every bet, win or lose. And when we say money, we mean money, paid immediately, directly into their accounts, with no restrictions. This is not a ground-breaking idea, of course. In land-based casinos, players simply take their chips or winnings receipt to the cage and collect their cash. They are not required to wager it 20x before leaving the casino.
Of course, we took this approach to stand out from the crowd, but also because we believe it is the right thing to do for our players as well as the wider industry. Online casino should be all about maximising the fun factor, but players also want to know that the money they win or are awarded in bonuses and prizes is their money. This is often not the case.
This is partly why the online casino industry still has a bad reputation when it comes to fair play. This has not been helped by the Gambling Commission’s decision to slap 888 with a £7.8m fine for dropping the ball when it comes to responsible gambling measures. This is another reason why we have taken the approach we have – we want our players to be healthy and happy.
At PlayOJO, we believe the funds deposited and won by the player always belong to them. What’s more, operators have no right to put any restrictions on player funds. The GB Gambling Commission requires operators to segregate player funds from company funds; PlayOJO does this, but also goes one step further to ensure they are 100% protected and that the player is in control.
It’s something other operators are currently not taking seriously enough. But we owe it to our players, as well as the huge number affiliates who do such a great job of informing and educating the online casino community, and sending players to our sites. It’s not enough to simply have responsible gambling measures in place – deposit limits, reality checks, self-exclusion – you must make sure they work.
Players are not naïve, and are becoming increasingly frustrated with online casino sites that do not put them first. They want greater control over their play, the limits they want to impose on it – as well as the marketing collateral they receive – and the bonuses and prizes they are awarded. Operators need to take this on board and make changes, taking a more open and honest approach.
This is particularly true when it comes to the terms and conditions attached to promotions and bonuses. It is often the case the T&Cs are long and confusing, and written in a legal language that few understand. Rewards and incentives should be simple and straightforward, and not come with any requirements attached. If there are conditions, they should be explained in a clear and concise way.
Our responsible gambling measures are robust and effective; we closely monitor those at risk of developing problem play and offer them the support and help they need. Those who decide to self-exclude are permanently prevented from returning, or until their cooling off period has expired, and they are certainly not targeted with marketing campaigns and incentives to return to the site and continue playing.
We are not ones to blow our own trumpet, but we do believe we have cracked the code when it comes to putting players first and ensuring they have a fun and enjoyable experience. It boils down to taking responsibility for customers, and going the extra mile to keep them happy and healthy. By taking a no-bullshit approach, this can easily be achieved.