A game-changing gambling protection app developed by a family from Sheffield will be offered to potentially millions of at-risk players following its acquisition by industry-leading compliance specialist Crucial Compliance.
BetProtect is an innovative player awareness space that offers tools and professional advice to help players better understand and manage their relationship with gambling. It can be seamlessly integrated as part of a player’s gaming experience on both mobile and desktop, and has been developed in conjunction with leading therapists and counsellors.
The app was launched in June by father and son David and Adam Bradford, following several years of campaigning for change in the industry, including lobbying for more support for addicts, pushing for gambling addiction to be recognised as a mental health problem and advising gambling companies on safer gambling projects.
Their work commenced after David was convicted and imprisoned for stealing money from his employer to fund a gambling addiction that he’d kept secret from his family for decades.
The former accountant ran up debts in excess of £500,000, but his issues with gambling addiction were completely hidden from day-to-day life – right up until the moment he was jailed for stealing from his employer in an attempt to cover his losses.
Seven years on, David will play a central role in the app’s future development following its acquisition by Gibraltar-based Crucial Compliance, in a newly created position on the business’s advisory board as Safer Gambling Advisor.
His lived experiences will ensure the app builds intimate and difference-making connections to players identified as being at risk.
A 2020 survey commissioned by the GambleAware charity estimated that up to 2.7% of adults in the UK, or nearly 1.4 million people, were problem gamblers1, while there are concerns that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns have pushed the nation’s relationship with the industry to crisis point2.
The app’s acquisition by Crucial Compliance lays the platform for its reach to grow substantially, with several leading providers, including household names from the UK and overseas, exploring the process of integrating the app as part of their offering to players.
The deal sees Crucial Compliance acquire the BetProtect brand and its products from the Safer Online Gambling Group.
BetProtect co-founder Adam Bradford said: “BetProtect’s new home is the perfect place for its features and content to be rolled out across the industry, thanks to the direction and expertise provided by Crucial Compliance’s compliance expertise and technological ability.
“The model in place is not commercial; it’s built around reinvestment, which means that finance generated is put back into the development of the app, both in terms of improving its effectiveness through analytical analysis and putting it in front of more and more people.
“To me as a co-founder, and the son of a former gambling addict who’s experienced first-hand the pain of seeing a loved one so badly affected, this is a truly exciting milestone in our journey – seven years on from dad being jailed.
“We draw an enormous sense of pride from the fact that our family’s experiences will be able to make a long-lasting difference to help players with a problem, and we hope that our contributions to the public policy debate have inspired others with hope that gambling addiction can be overcome.
“A better life is possible after addiction and we believe there is a tidal wave of change on the horizon that will create a safer gambling experience for everyone.”
Crucial Compliance CEO Paul Foster said: “Equipped with the app, and the knowledge and insight we can gain from David’s lived experiences, we are setting out to change the industry one company at a time, and the acquisition of BetProtect forms another cornerstone of that objective.
“We strongly believe that there is an appetite to do more from within the industry, and a willingness from the leading providers in the UK and from overseas to change the overall mentality of a sector that is trying to acknowledge that the addiction risk is still with us in this digital age.
“Crucial Compliance already works across the industry, utilising cutting-edge software and data tools to spot risky play, provide tailored interventions and improve industry safety standards, so we’re excellently equipped to manage the roll-out of BetProtect’s functionality across the industry.
“In the short term, we’re seeking to prevent gambling-related harm and protect players as quickly as possible. In the longer term, I truly believe we can drive real cultural change in the industry, keeping the power of David’s own story front of mind, together with our unique position as an independent compliance consultancy.”
The Safer Online Gambling Group, which operated as a Community Interest Company, will be dissolved following the completion of the sale and a short handover period.