October 15, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — Survey results reported by eCommerce-Journal that may by now have been overtaken by public perceptions of the financial sector indicate a worrying lack of trust in online gambling operators in the U.K.
The survey, carried out by iD Factor recently, interviewed a thousand U.K. residents to establish levels of trust in a range of industries with regard to the handling of personal data. And despite a number of recent public scandals in Britain regarding the loss of personal data by contractors to various government departments, online gambling operators received the lowest rating.
Almost half of respondents indicated doubts regarding the will and ability of gambling websites to protect their identity and personal information. The latest survey also revealed that concern about identity theft is running high among consumers, with nearly a third being "extremely concerned" about the threat for the second consecutive year.
Customers rated retailers, central and local government, the NHS, banks and financial institutions, travel companies and the main utilities as more trustworthy organizations despite a poorer public record when it comes to protecting customer information.
In the survey, respondents were asked to rank from one to ten how highly they trusted a range of industries with their data protection. The gaming industry — including casinos, online sites and interactive TV gambling — took the last place in the list with nearly 46 percent of respondents rating it the lowest. A similar poll last year showed that only four percent of people were confident that the gaming business could protect their identity.
Experts in the field recommended that gambling companies more widely advertise and promote their services and the rigorous measures often taken to provide financial security to their customers.
In addition, GB Group has called for a business code of practice and accreditation scheme to regain public trust across all sectors. The identity verification firm argues that the new guidelines should clearly outline best practice on the collection, handling and storing of data, and carry tighter penalties should these guidelines be broken.
A similar program was launched in Scotland last month by the Scottish Business Crime Center (SBCC) and GB Group, including the release of an advisory guide for protecting both customers and companies.
Richard Law, chief executive of GB Group, said: "These results show a real need for gaming businesses to shout much more loudly about the strong stance they have taken on issues of social responsibility such as preventing underage gambling.
"Those of us who work in the industry know that it is one of the most rigorous in this respect, yet the playing public still perceives it to be the least trustworthy of all the major sectors reviewed."
Law commented that age and identity verification procedures on gaming websites are often far superior to those on most online retail sites where a tick box is often the only proof required of age.
Online gambling sites, many of which are listed companies with transparent reporting regimes, frequently deploy sophisticated age and identity software to go further than a mere self-certification by the applicant player.
The iD study results translate to a list as follows, with banks and building societies perceived as most trustworthy and trust declining as the list progresses down to the least trusted:
1. Banks and building societies 10.7 percent
2. National Health Service 11.4 percent
3. Utility companies 13.2 percent
4. Mortgage brokers, independent financial advisers, and stockbrokers 13.7 percent
5. Mobile phone service providers 15.3 percent
6. Travel companies 16.2 percent
7. Retailers 17 percent
8. Local government 19.1 percent
9. Central government 23.7 percent
10. Gambling companies including casinos, online gaming sites, interactive TV gambling programmes: 45.7 percent