The very first Gambling Technology Strategies 2011 has just finished up at Le Meridian Piccadilly in London, the center of the iGaming Universe. The conference attracted about 40 attendees over the course of two days, mostly lawyers, regulators, social gaming operators and service providers.
The biggest strength of this event was that there was ample opportunity to network with every attendee and the venue was central and convenient for everyone. On the other hand, the small number of attendees was a bit disappointing and most of the information covered in the presentations was fairly basic, apart from some of the nuggets of regulatory information that were released mostly during day one.
The first day of the conference featured the popular “Review of Regulatory and Policy Developments Across Europe” panel including lawyers representing Italy, Germany, Spain and Denmark in addition to Tim Philips of Betfair.
During the panel, Italian lawyer Quirino Mancini claimed there is no future for one single European license but that regulatory bodies within the EU are already working together. Quirino also confirmed that Italy is currently working on new rules for their second round of licensing which will be more “European friendly”. Wulf Hambach of Germany stated that Germany could be the next EU state to open up and that this market has potential to be the largest and most profitable market. Spanish lawyer Santiago Asensi believes that Spain will grant their first licenses in the beginning of 2012 and Danish lawyer Justin Fransenn predicts that Denmark will open up in the fall of 2011 but seeing that the population is only 5 million, there will be very few barriers of entry or else a Danish license would not be worth it for operators.
The potential move by the UK regulatory body to dissolve their white list of gaming jurisdictions was also addressed and operators such as Betfair (who just left the UK for a license in Gibraltar) will consider a UK license once the laws have been adjusted. Robin Le Prevost believes that the UK will be fair in whatever it decides to do and that Alderney, currently whitelisted by the UK, has a good an open relationship with the UK regulators so something will likely be worked out between the two jurisdictions.
Mobile gaming was another hot topic discussed during the conference, especially after the mobile gaming presentation on day two, and everyone seems to agree that it will the next big thing from a technology standpoint in 2011. Along with the rise of mobile betting comes along a series of challenges however, including data leakage risks, how to manage geographical regulatory restrictions, ensuring players are safe and ensuring that underage gambling is not taking place.
C5’s intentions were in the right place when organizing a technology focused event, however they may have been better off calling it “Gambling Regulation Strategies” because the delegates and presenters talked a lot more about the state of regulation in Europe than technology in 2011. In conclusion, after attending this conference it seems very fair to say that operators who are seeking licenses in multiple jurisdictions and operators interested in mobile gaming platforms will have a lot of technological challenges in their future.