Professionals from across the eGaming sector joined together recently for a tantalising glimpse into the future of the industry in Gibraltar at KPMG’s annual eSummit.
The event, which took place on Thursday 9th May on board the Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Gibraltar’s Ocean Village, drew key players from a wide variety of eGaming businesses, as well as regulators and Government representatives, to examine recent trends and assess future opportunities for Gibraltar-based operators.
Giving the Opening Address, the Hon Albert Isola, Gibraltar’s Minister for Commerce, commented on the positive progress of the sector in Gibraltar, supported by the recent MoneyVal visit and the on-going work on the review of Gibraltar’s gambling legislation. He also announced plans to establish the University of Gibraltar as a Centre of Excellence for research into responsible gambling.
Wes Himes, Chief Executive of the Remote Gambling Association, reflected on how the gaming market is maturing and how moves to protect customers will require businesses to adapt and innovate to ensure a sustainable future and stay ahead of increasing compliance requirements. The focus should be on creating safe customers, he said, who in turn are most likely to become loyal and long-term customers.
The topic of Responsible Gambling was then tackled by a panel of operators, responsible gambling organisations and researchers. This was led by moderator Adam Rivers and covered educational initiatives, the use of advertising and the need for increased collaboration between industry players.
With the event taking place shortly after GVC’s unilateral announcement to withdraw from TV advertising and football shirt sponsorship, promotion was also a hot topic of discussion for the operator panel, with not everyone convinced such drastic action was necessary. This panel also discussed short term challenges and opportunities, and involved an audience poll which revealed that increasing compliance and the public mood about gambling were perceived to be the biggest challenges for the industry over the next five years.
Elsewhere in the day, delegates heard a market update from Stephen Little of Goldman Sachs, who then led a panel looking at M&A in the gambling and betting sector, as well as a B2B panel moderated by Simon Bernholt of Wiggin and a “fireside chat” looking at future licensing and legislation in Gibraltar led by Andrew Lyman, Executive Director of the Gambling Division, HM Government of Gibraltar.
Tom Grogan of Mishcon de Reya gave a presentation on emerging technologies and creating an environment for innovation and investment which gave some illuminating examples of how DLT and blockchain technology is being adopted by other industries. Two young KPMG economists, James Bentley and Seamus McGowan, also shared their insights into the results of an ongoing study they are undertaking into the propensity of consumers to gamble.
While delegates at last year’s eSummit may have assumed that Brexit would be decided by the time of this year’s event, history has proved otherwise and KPMG’s Brexpert speaker Mark Essex was on hand to offer commentary on the latest twists and turns in the Brexit saga. He also explored the latest thinking on how Brexit will affect businesses, indicating that they will not necessarily be exposed along sector lines, and will face different risks and opportunities depending on their market position and interconnectedness.
Running alongside the main session were three Hassans’ Masterclass sessions on start-ups, taxation and regulation, all of which proved popular with attendees.
Speaking at the end of the day, Will Hawkley, KPMG’s global sector lead for the leisure and hospitality sector, said it had been a fantastic event: “It’s been great to see that, while there are clearly many challenges ahead, there is a strong level of optimism within Gibraltar’s eGaming sector.
“Despite the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, it was clear that the industry as a whole is focused on creating a robust, positive and user-friendly environment for consumers. In particular, it was refreshing to see a responsible gambling panel with so many people on it and the high level of willingness to collaborate for the greater good.
“As ever, we are thankful to all our speakers and panellists, who give their time and knowledge so generously, and to Minister Isola and his team for the support they give to this event and to the industry in general.
“We are also grateful to our sponsors GibTelecom, Hassans, Hooyu, ISOLAS, Kompli-Global, Microgaming, Mishcon de Reya, and Wiggin for their support and to Continent 8 Technologies, who have been a sponsor since our first event nine years ago and who sponsor the eSummit report which allows us to distribute today’s learning more widely to those who were unable to attend.
“Finally, we are already looking forward to our 10th Gibraltar eSummit which will take place on Thursday 7th May 2020.”
The full eSummit report will be available in the summer. For information about next year’s KPMG Gibraltar eSummit please contact Micky Swindale ([email protected]). To receive updates and thought leadership in the gaming sector from KPMG UK, please subscribe to our mailing list.
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