Taking responsible gaming and sports integrity to a new digital level
- Australian company, IXUP Limited collaborating with Microsoft to bring powerful privacy enhancing technology to the challenges of responsible gaming
- Post-pandemic growth in online gambling presenting downstream reputational and social impact risk to gaming operators and sporting bodies
- Global first implementation of homomorphic encryption technology turns privacy challenge into social impact benefit.
Australian data platform player, IXUP Limited announced a global collaboration with Microsoft to bring cutting edge encryption to solve the challenges of responsible gaming and sports integrity.
Environmental and social impacts and governance (ESG) initiatives have emerged as vital tools for organisations touching every area of the business from corporate strategy, business growth, people and culture.
And in the closely linked worlds of gaming and sports, ESG is garnering even more attention. In the past, betting on any range of sports was largely limited to licensed premises and restricted to those over 18 years of age. With COVID related lockdowns and easily accessible online and mobile betting apps, a perfect storm has been created, resulting in ever-easier access to betting, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In Australia, the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s submission to the Royal Commission into The Casino Operator and Licence indicates that the adverse effects of gambling extends beyond the small groups of problem gamblers – affecting individuals, families, workplaces and the wider community. Moreover, problem gambling disproportionately impacts the more vulnerable in our communities – under 25s, first nations communities and people living with disabilities.
Industry sponsored self-exclusion programs allowing individuals to exclude themselves from gambling venues or online gambling have been in place for some time. They are often the first step in support programs for individuals – placing your name on a list, identifying your chosen venues and signing a deed.
But with ACMA (2021) research indicating that 11% of Australians are participating in online gambling (up from 8% in 2020) and that 16% of online gamblers report an increase in their gambling frequency, the downstream business, reputational and social impacts are significant. And gaming operators and sporting bodies alike are seeking new solutions.
Bringing the power of technology to self-exclusion
Collecting, managing and securing private information – such as self-exclusion data – is highly sensitive. Not only is the gaming industry regulated, so too is the collection, management and securing of personally identifiable information (PII). Breaches of PII carry significant fines, sanctions, and potential reputational damage to the organisation suffering the breach. But it’s not just the operators, at reputational risk – individuals could also suffer reputational, professional and personal damage as well.
Gaming operators face twin challenges:
- How to safely and compliantly gather and manage sensitive private information
- How to actively manage self-excluded individuals at scale.
IXUP Limited, working with Microsoft Research, has implemented Microsoft’s SEAL homomorphic encryption technology to solve these challenges.
“We are delivering on the social contract that individuals have made through self-exclusion with their families, communities and operators”, explains, Marcus Gracey, CEO at IXUP.
“The IXUP technology is what we call a ‘collaborative analytics platform’. It allows us to analyse joined up data without having to unencrypt it for processing”, explains Dr Paul Coe, CTO at IXUP. “This means we can securely analyse, make decisions and act upon the insights without revealing sensitive information”.
With high availability servers deployed in local markets around the world, IXUP can use the Microsoft Azure global data centre networks while also ensuring the data sovereignty demanded of local, state and federal jurisdictions. It also means the platform is ready to scale to the demands of high transaction volumes associated with events such as the Super Bowl, World Series and March Madness. There has already been significant interest from companies in the US and Europe, with further announcements expected in the coming months.
Setting new standards for sports integrity with IXUP
Betting self-exclusion isn’t the only commercial application for the IXUP technology. In fact, the high-speed transactional matching and processing engine that underlies the platform has attracted interest from sporting bodies internationally.
There have been a number of high-profile cases where sports players have placed bets on their own leagues, generating massive reputational impact and resulting in loss of sponsorship and member goodwill. “Most sporting codes class their players and coaches as ‘impermissible bettors’. In some cases – and leagues – this category extends to any employee – so you can imagine that managing and checking the betting actions of whole workforces can present a challenge”, explains Gracey. “Our collaboration with Microsoft and the implementation of homomorphic encryption helps the boards and management of the sporting bodies sleep easier, knowing that we can securely match and manage impermissible bettors at scale”.
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