“Online monitoring system contributes to the protection of gamblers” Lenka Hasprová

Slovakia supported Montenegro in gambling legislation revision. Lenka Hasprová, an expert from the Slovak Ministry of Finance, assisted with IT solutions improvement. 

Lenka Hasprová, the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic expert on development of public administration information systems, shared her impressions and observations about her technical cooperation within the MF SR – UNDP project in the area of regulation and monitoring of gambling in Montenegro. Lenka graduated the Masaryk University in Brno, where she studied informatics with focus on information systems development. Later, she worked on information systems development in the human resources area as a chief system and business analyst. She has worked for the Ministry for six years. She is also a qualified electrical engineering expert witness.

1. In autumn 2019, you participated in the technical assistance project to Montenegro in the field of gambling monitoring. What was your role in the programme and how would you describe the cooperation with the Montenegrin partners? 

I was engaged as an international consultant for system and process analyses. My task was to analyze the current information system solution for gambling regulation and monitoring. At the same time, I had to evaluate the IT system from the functional perspective and provide recommendations for its further development. 

The cooperation with the Montenegrin team was very good. The system management and operation is administered by the experts, who are well informed in that area. Owing to their knowledge and expertise, I have been receiving specific, relevant and swift responses to my questions. Without their fast reactions, I would not have been able to deliver in such a short time. 

2. How did this work experience benefit your personal development and career? 

This experience once again proved that frankness, professionalism, and expertise open up the doors of communication. This work provided me with an opportunity to apply my technical experience in an international arena, for which I am very grateful. It was also very interesting to get acquainted with the approaches to information systems development in Montenegro. In some cases it would be great to apply those approaches in Slovakia as well. In Montenegro, the information systems are being developed in a more agile way, thus their life cycle is much faster without negative impact on quality. 

3. Why do governments introduce online solutions for gambling monitoring? 

Regulation in this area is considered essential for mitigating the social and economic impact of excessive gambling (e.g. addiction, prevention of youth gambling problems) and for monitoring and raising public revenues. Systemic solutions also eliminate the risk of human error and allow for more effective data recording. Moreover, they provide a tool for collecting statistical data, allowing for their analysis and storage.  

4. What is behind the term information system for online monitoring of gambling? 

This information system is designed to enable automation and digitalization of business processes associated with gambling prevention and control. The processes programmed in the information system for gambling monitoring had been followed even before the system operation. However, digitalization of these processes enables more efficient and accurate control, improves data recording and eliminates the risk of human failures. 

Whereas in the physical world, the execution of controls and processing of their results can take several hours, even days, digitally this can be done in seconds. Through online monitoring, the control can be performed in real time without an in-person check at the physical location. At the same time, it allows for monitoring several gambling spots or operators simultaneously and without any staff increase. Online monitoring systems contribute to the protection of gamblers, youth and health, e.g. through the connection of the system to various public registers, against which it is possible to check the personal details of each person and exclude him/her from participation in gambling. 

5. What functionalities does an IT system have to possess in order for a government to be able to control and monitor gambling efficiently? 

Firstly, the processes related to monitoring and controls need to be set up correctly. The same goes for the development of algorithms. It is also very beneficial if the gambling regulation specialists are closely consulted during an information system development. A well-designed legislation which effectively supports the intended information system operation is paramount. As a matter of fact, the IT system mirrors the legislation and applies the regulative framework into practice. These are just the basic lines.

6. What are the recent achievements and the biggest challenges of Montenegro in this area? 

In my opinion, Montenegro has got excellent information and communication technologies experts. When working on the project, I met with top specialistsproud of their jobwho approached their work with great responsibility. Those people had managed to develop a very solid information system in a very short timewhich is something to applaud. I do not dare to speak about their challenges, but I wish them success in keeping the high standard and the pace they have set.