Using data matching as a service to protect 225,000 vulnerable people, preventing them from gambling across 250 operators

GAMSTOP is the UK’s national scheme that allows individuals to exclude themselves from all UK registered online gambling websites. The technical solution provides a central point of exclusion for consumers whilst providing real-time integrations to all UK-licensed operators to check their customers’ exclusion status each time they register or log in. As a result, the service needs to be fast, accurate and secure.

The Data Shed as a technical partner: How we provided a full technical team to deliver a 24/7/365 service

GAMSTOP has been one of The Data Shed’s longest-standing clients. Starting in 2018, The Data Shed provided a full data engineering team to support GAMSTOP with the aim of leveraging record linkage to build a service able to provide a robust layer of protection for their consumers. We’ve now worked alongside each other for three years, enhancing and scaling the solution to cope with the growth of consumer interest and providing our specialist expertise and advice to the GAMSTOP team to ensure we’re all working to protect these consumers in the best possible way.

The heart of the service is a matching algorithm. The specially designed (and continually enhanced) algorithm determines if the person logging in or attempting to register at an operator is the same one registered on the GAMSTOP service. This isn’t as simple as just comparing x with y, as data can change over time and is often of variable quality, so our algorithm needs to be intelligent enough to manage all these scenarios. This protection also needs to be specific to those that need it whilst allowing operators to provide normal service to the rest of their customers. The blended Data Shed and GAMSTOP team are continually working to drive improvements for all who use the service, whilst maintaining optimal day to day operations.

Speed & volume

Every single day, millions of data matching requests are processed by the service. We have a combination of small data that moves quickly (individual login or registration attempts) and data cleanses of large marketing databases. Individual attempts are responded to in under 300 milliseconds.

Security

The platform holds sensitive personal data, and that’s why we ensure the security is always at the forefront of our minds, both within the design of the platform, and in our processes and operations. We work closely with AWS to provide this level of security; this includes working with accredited penetration testers as well as employing the best available AWS technologies.

Optimisation

We are continuously improving the service; this includes making the matching algorithm more accurate, adding matching rules to handle new scenarios as they emerge through real-life experience, reviewing and enhancing the overall performance of the platform and enhancing the experience for the consumer to support a smooth user journey.

“We were looking at enhancing the service for the consumer and having met the team at The Data Shed; we were impressed by both their expert knowledge of data as well as their wide cross-section of experience.”

“Our work with The Data Shed will enable all self-excluded gamblers to be confident that our enhanced system will be robust and able to provide the service that they need.”

Fiona Palmer, CEO of GAMSTOP.

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