Chris Conroy has come a long way in the industry, veering off from potential careers in finance and public transport, and moving into retail as casinos transitioned into the new digital world.
He is now the Chief Data Officer at Future Anthem and spoke on The CasinoBeats 100 Club podcast about how data has changed over the past 20 years and why the industry still has a long way to go in understanding how to manage data and how to use data.
When Chris first entered the industry, land-based casinos were completely different from what we see today. Back then, casinos in the UK actually did and tracked everything manually.
Usually, casinos were located in small smoky basements, and back then there was no big data, all information was literally written down on a piece of paper.
Then, as large leisure venues began to develop, data became fundamental.
“I joined around the time that they really started to get data for the first time,” he mentioned.
“That period from 2010 and 2015 in retail was a bit of a data race. There was a bit of a race between Grosvenor and Genting, with these big leisure venues it was about customer acquisition and customer experience all driven by marketing and CRM.”
Despite acknowledging that data and the uses of data, as well as the level of importance that people place on it, as being among the major changes during his time in the industry, Conroy does question its comprehension and understanding.
“I think we’ve still got, within the industry in general, I think there’s still a long way to go in understanding how to manage data and how to use data.”
However, another important detail that Conroy pays attention to is the understanding of player behaviors.
“For sure regulators play a big role in protecting players, but all of us in the industry are using data to better manage potential risks – this has been a massive change.
I think the biggest positive change in the industry has been the shift from managing problems to always finding problems before they occur. And that’s exactly what we use data for, within the safer play world is about predicting risks before that happens, finding early signals of risk.”
He also notes that player safety has to manifest itself throughout all teams and not operate as a separate entity.
“If your commercial and operational teams are responsible for your website, for your player experience, for your marketing, then how can you possibly have a compliance team sitting over here that’s responsible for player safety? After all, player safety has to manifest itself on your website within your player experience, and within your marketing.
So I think just integrating all those things in terms of your operation is fundamental,” Conroy concluded.
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