Operators in the online gambling business can have a difficult time, juggling the varied requirements of different regulators in the industry, and may opt to go without regulation as a result. Susan O’Leary, CEO of Alderney eGambling, is trying to change that by encouraging more unity amongst the different groups.
O’Leary promotes the benefits of regulation, saying, “You want to encourage industry to be regulated. You want to encourage industry to realize that actually, it’s the best marketing tool they can have.”
As can be expected, all parties get the best results by working together. O’Leary elaborates, “I think it’s totally essential for a collaboration and cooperation. It helps the entire industry. So it’s regulation, collaboration and cooperating, but also industry too. So it’s a full ecosystem. You need all compartments really for it to actually work.”
It’s an uphill climb to have harmonization in the regulatory space, as the CEO admits, because there are so many concerns specific to each region. “There’s so many different problems between moral, political, social, religious reasons. In particular, in the [U.S.] it’s quite tricky. States are totally different.”
There is proof though that it can be done, to the benefit of the regulators and operators alike. O’Leary highlights, “From a practical point of view what we’ve done in kind of the regulated market in Europe for the last few years is this Niagara Initiative, which is a collection of international regulators working to harmonize standards somewhat. There’s one thing called the multi-jurisdictional testing framework, which is an initiative by IAGR, and there’s a working party put together, it was Denmark, UK, Alderney, Isle of Man, and they collaborated to put together testing standards, in particular for RNG.” The benefits to participating regulators are clear. According to O’Leary, “If you’re a licensee of Denmark, Isle of Man, UK or Alderney then you don’t have to get tested in each jurisdiction.”
When asked how the industry can progress to more ambitious goals, O’Leary stressed a step-by-step approach, and relying on the expertise of experienced regulators. She explained, “Sometimes regulators come in, they have a really prescriptive regime, and they’re not sure, and that’s understandable as well, they’re just getting into it. So you can’t apply a risked based approach without the experience. But after a few years of adopting the regime, they tend to be much more comfortable, understand the sector, and then that collaboration really kicks in, they realize, look, we don’t need to be so strict about this. Let’s be able to work together for another way.” It’s really helping.
Newer regulators, coming in with more principles than experience, might not understand the best approach to gain cooperation. O’Leary noted, “If you push too hard, and you’re too overly prescriptive, you push people out, you discourage them from being in the regulated space, and you push them underground to the black market. And that’s the worst case scenario. If they’re well regulated, they get the trust of the consumer, the trust of the other regulators, and everything can move forward.”
What should these new entrants, notably American states who are looking to get in on the game, focus on? O’Leary advises, “The best advice would be for them to collaborate with the other regulators, even just the other American regulators as a start, because things are so different.”
Ultimately, regulators need to get on the same page, so that operators can find consistency. O’Leary concludes, “The one thing that’s fundamental to the gaming sector is cross border traffic, and it’s not something you can ignore, it’s absolutely essential for the industry globally. So without that, everything I think long term, would fall apart.”