International edition
December 14, 2017 | Edition Nº3383

By Salim Adatia (*)

Venturing Online – The exciting road ahead (Part Two)

Impressive presentations have been viewed and the board room table remains laden with research and reports about the opportunities within the multi-billion dollar online gambling industry. Countless cups of coffee and meals have been consumed, and the Board has now convened its careful deliberations. The outcome - a vote of YES to begin offering gambling on the Internet. But now what? It quickly becomes apparent that the decision which took the entire day was probably the easiest decision on the long but exciting road ahead. Which jurisdictions offer regulated and licensed internet gaming? Which should we seek a license in and why? These and many more important questions now need to be explored in painstaking detail and just as carefully answered. Let us explore some further considerations below:

M

ost interesting jurisdictions

Some allow multiple private operator licenses to anyone who applies, is found suitable and complies with all applicable registration and licensing requirements.  Others are crown-operated, where the responsibility for the conduct and management of gaming operations is undertaken by the jurisdictional crown corporation (e.g.: sometimes the jurisdictional lottery).

A sample of jurisdictions beyond those four mentioned are provided below:

PRIVATE LICENSES

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina (Misiones Province) *
  • Australia
  • Bahamas *
  • Belgium *
  • Bulgaria *
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • First Cagayan (Philippines)
  • Germany *
  • Greece *
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • The Netherlands *
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (Nevada, New Jersey)

CROWN OPERATED

  • Atlantic Provinces, Canada
  • British Columbia, Canada
  • Delaware, USA
  • Manitoba, Canada
  • Ontario, Canada
  • Québec, Canada
  • Other national monopolies

* Denotes emerging jurisdiction

 

Operators’ main concerns

Operators contend with many competing concerns, some of which include:

  • Attracting players. You’ve gone live with your web site – but how will players know that you’re out there? While you’ve designed the site to be optimized for search engines, you will need to engage in strategic marketing initiatives to inform your potential players that you’re open for business. In new jurisdictions where there is plenty of media coverage of opening online casinos this may not be a problem but in jurisdictions where there may already be a number of operators targeting a particular market how do you stand out? Modern marketing approaches use advertising, social media and affiliate marketing. You will need to plan your roll out carefully.
  • Providing a good customer experience. In open markets retaining customers depends on providing a good customer experience. Are your systems and internal processes surrounding registration and funds transfers designed and operating to provide a smooth customer experience? Do you have adequate trained staff to respond to customer enquiries?
  • Protecting your business from fraud, scams, etc. Are your internal financial processes designed to prevent fraud, especially credit card fraud? Do you have experienced staff reviewing gaming data, especially if you’re offering poker, to ensure the integrity of your gaming operations?
  • Maintaining the operational controls and records required as part of the licensing process. Are you keeping all the records of operational controls mandated as part of the license? Do you have processes in place to submit required reports to the regulator in a timely fashion?

Regulators’ main concerns

One of the many responsibilities a regulator has is to implement public policy requirements regarding gaming that are established in law.  This is partially supported through the development and enforcement of:

  • Technical standards to cover allowable forms of technology in their jurisdiction; and
  • Internal control standards to provide guidance on operational requirements.

In general, key questions that face regulators today include:

  • How will regulators adequately protect the underage and/or vulnerable?
  • How will regulators safeguard reputation - what level of due diligence and methods of suitability assessment will regulators conduct for license applicants so as not to bring disrepute to the jurisdiction?
  • Can regulators provide industry stakeholders with appropriate levels of assurance that the system is secure and fair?
  • Can regulators have confidence in the financial reporting of systems?
  • Can regulators sufficiently respond to patron disputes?
  • Can regulators conduct proper forensic investigations in the event of a system failure or other system anomaly?
  • Can regulators have confidence in the communication of wagers to and from its wagering sites?

 

The above are just a few broad-ranging concerns, each of which could be broken down further into sub-components.  It's no wonder newly emerging jurisdictions have great opportunity coupled with great considerations to consider. Luckily GLI is there to assist them all along the way.  We work very closely with regulators in emerging markets to provide consultancy & support, most times well in advance of their first site ever going live.

Coordinating work with regulators

At GLI, we help regulators with the key questions mentioned above. 

We do this by working closely with the regulator, as well as with the operator and suppliers to ensure gambling products meet or exceed technical requirements uniquely set for their particular jurisdiction, manufacturer's specifications and global best-practice industry standards.

Regulators have come to know that they can think of GLI like the Red Cross of the gaming industry – we are here to help avoid as well as prepare for an emergency, and we are here to help respond should an emergency occur.  And like the Red Cross, we have global resources that we can mobilize at a moment’s notice, all to help regulators handle a situation at a local level. We test, we scrutinize, we check, we analyze, we verify, then we certify.

It's worthwhile mentioning that as an independent test lab, regulators mandate that we don’t take sides. To that end, GLI does not prefer one regulator over another, one vendor over another, or one jurisdiction over another. Like a referee in sports, our goal is to keep the game fair for everyone, and we can only do that by remaining independent from everyone. 

In addition, as an independent and impartial third-party we are fact-finders who call and report issues like we see them.  In addition to being accountable to regulators, we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards.  Remaining neutral is our first priority, and their guarantee of our integrity so that both operators and regulators can rest easy knowing products on deployed online or through mobile devices are GLI tested and approved.

GLI-19: Interactive Gaming Systems

GLI is recognized around the world as the leader in Internet Gaming testing, and have been for more than 20 years now.  After years of consulting on and drafting Internet Gaming technical standards for many of the world's most established online gaming jurisdictions we published GLI-19.  It was the world’s first common Internet Gaming standard available as a resource or adoption in its entirety by jurisdictional authorities globally.

GLI-19 leverages our years of expertise and was based on an extensive review of several key interactive gaming jurisdictions which have experienced great success in regulating the inherently complex systems associated with internet gaming. 

GLI-19 is increasingly being adopted by jurisdictions in its entirety largely because it encompasses the best practices in regulated jurisdictions from Europe, Canada and the US where the majority of internet gaming regulation is currently occurring. The feedback we have received is that regulators are better able to institute these technical regulations in their new markets given most are already accepted by the industry.

Where regulators are contemplating publishing their own new requirements, it is a valuable resource that assists new and emerging markets to develop proper technical controls and requirements to facilitate their markets. 

GLI-19 and the entire GLI Standards Series can be found at http://www.gaminglabs.com/en/gli-standards

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