National Casino Forum

Non-profit trade association



The National Casino Forum is a non-profit trade association whose mission is to ensure the UK’s casinos provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers, offering first-class hospitality and helping them gamble responsibly.

SDA Solutions for the National Casino Forum


The UK "Land Based Casinos", through their governing body the National Casino Forum, have a significant commitment to ensure that ‘problem gamblers’ can safely withdraw from risky or dangerous activity. To accomplish this, and to avert the imposition of potentially punitive regulation, they sought to develop and deliver a robust, practical and above all secure system that would both protect people and provide analytic intelligence to improve the system and build confidence in the approach. SDA was chosen to design, develop and deliver this.

Our work to deliver SENSE, the NCF’s privacy-critical "Self-Exclusion System" required us to liaise with multiple levels of many organisations to establish their competence, capability and capacity to engage. This involved identifying and engaging with appropriate users representing a spectrum of interests, creating synthetic data to reflect the known attributes of the subjects and, of course, developing and testing queries with real-world applications. By iterating rapidly and triaging our feedback we refined the model across all data elements from collecting and querying the data to baselining the results.

The work was also about creating the whole system, from data capture to secure storage and analysis. SDA deployed agile techniques to establish not only how Casino staff at all levels perceived and would need to interact with the system, but also how the gamblers would do so. This involved extensive research, building and developing user stories, then integrating them to inform the design and development of incremental prototypes. Our holistic approach quickly derived the essential design parameters from which we built user-centric interfaces to deliver an end-to-end system that met a range of operational requirements while preserving anonymity.

By selecting the right software tools for the job, and the right people to wield them, and by tightly controlling the development project throughout its lifecycle, SDA delivered the SENSE system to time and budget. Our subsequent commitment to managing the live system has ensured that all service levels have continued to be met, including, for example, our 99.99% uptime commitment as well as all incident response envelopes.

The system, which has now reached a significant level of maturity, has recently been fitted with R Shiny interactive dashboards. This enables managers from all areas of the enterprise to interrogate the data across multiple views from pre-set reports to complete flexibility in describing their required variables and granularity. This in turn allows them to respond to fluctuations in the delivery of their corporate social responsibility commitments as well as to provide a range of reports to meet their substantial regulatory responsibilities.

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