Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) has made moves in the responsible gambling space by partnering with two problem gambling tech startups.

The partnerships follow the first edition of PPB’s programme, Alpha Hub, in which startups pitched their innovative technologies designed to help promote responsible gambling. Alpha Hub launched in November 2018, following PPB’s penalty package that carried a fine of £2.2m for social responsibility failures, as the UKGC found it to be lacking in player protection measures.

The operator founded Alpha Hub, in partnership with Risky Business Ventures and Techsylvania, in a bid to find products, technologies and innovation efforts that could complement their own. More than 200 startups from 54 countries participated in the first edition, and these applications were narrowed down to just seven startups. However, it was Danish company Mindway AI and Romanian startup Pamble that were chosen. Mindway AI stood out for its exploration of AI in detecting problem gambling behaviours, while Pamble was chosen for its development of the first companion application for approaching problem gambling behaviours.

Since the launch, Paddy Power Betfair reported a 5% increase in revenue from online sources and announced that responsible gambling efforts would be a contributing factor to bonus packages. Rob Smith, head of Alpha Hub, said that partnering with new brands through the initiative would help Paddy Power Betfair “solve real business challenges”, such as protecting potentially vulnerable players.

However, it’s not just PPB that benefits from these partnerships. The operator is offering solutions to customer verification, data collection and retail tools to winners as part of the partnership. Pamble’s CEO commented that the benefits of the partnership have been twofold, helping to “better understand both responsible gambling and how to create corporate partnerships”.

November may have been the inaugural edition of the Alpha Hub competition, but Paddy Power Betfair has invested over 200 million in more than 12 startups across the past 15 years. Alpha Hub will now unify the resources into one dynamic platform for these startups.

While Mindway AI and Pamble are now both set to receive support and mentoring from Paddy Power Betfair, Techsylvania and Risky Business Venture, it’s not yet clear exactly how the partnerships will unfold.