Paul Newson, Director of Regulating the Game

"Regulating the Game Sydney 2024 has been our most impactful event so far with lots of people traveling internationally to attend"

Reading time 6:25 min

From March 10 - 15, the 4th edition of Regulating the Game conference took place in Sydney. Described as a 5-day immersive program that focuses on leading-edge research, regulatory policy and practice, and ethical leadership in the gambling sector, the conference garnered a lot of support across the industry with lots of stakeholders traveling internationally to attend.

Following the conclusion of the event, Yogonet held an exclusive interview with Paul Newson, Director of Regulating the Game, who shared feedback and insights on the conference's latest edition. He also spoke about the newly added feature, the Masterclass Series, and said that it will be a permanent feature of Regulating the Game going forward.

The 4th edition of Regulating the Game Sydney took place last month. What are your key takeaways from this edition?

Regulating the Game Sydney was electrifying, highlighting the need for collaborative advancements in safer gambling and a sustainable sector. Insights from global leaders enriched our understanding of international regulatory approaches. Networking events were pivotal, fostering connections that fuel innovation.

Key takeaways include:

  • The vital importance of fostering dialogue and collaboration between regulators and the industry to move beyond black letter compliance and work together to advance safer gambling and for the betterment of an invigorated sustainable sector.
  • The industry has a global footprint and it is invaluable to hear from the international sector and regulatory leaders as well as leading thinkers and stakeholders working to advance practices and outcomes from public policy and regulatory specialists, industry professionals, clinicians, and researchers to leaders and experts in sports integrity, law, product design, forensic services, financial crime, leadership, ethics, artificial intelligence and more.
  • Bringing an international lens also enlarges the conversation beyond what is happening locally to better understand how other jurisdictions tackle similar policy challenges and issues and outcomes they are realizing. Lifting our gaze to observe policy approaches and insights internationally can only improve the rigor of policy design and development and help alert us to risks and unintended consequences.
  • The networking events marry the event together marvelously. The expert content, discussions, and debate are essential, but the conversations on the margins and networking are fundamental to the success of the conference and attendees making connections and creating opportunities for collaboration.

What were the conference’s highlights, and what was the feedback you received from attendees, speakers, and exhibitors at the conference?

The response from speakers and attendees has been marvelous and it's clear that the 2024 Sydney conference has been our most impactful event so far with lots of people traveling internationally to attend. We created a mashup video with snippets from the week, which really captures the feedback and sentiment and gives you a sense of the energy and dynamic atmosphere at the conference.

We also launched Pitch! at the Sydney event which was a smashing success in a striking venue with sweeping views of Sydney and outstanding hospitality. Pitch! was launched at our London event but was held for the first time in Sydney this year and we have a marvelous mix of RegTech as well as leading-edge consultants and Gambling Laboratories International delivering quick-fire pitches and battling to beat the countdown from towering Timmy 2.0.

Pitch! serves as a vibrant showcase for cutting-edge products, transformative approaches, and groundbreaking research. It's a stage for ideas that elevate operational capability, streamline processes, and confront compliance and regulatory hurdles head-on.

As part of Pitch! next year we are introducing exhibitor stands at the main conference venue to provide the opportunity to showcase products and services and to extend interaction throughout the event.

The event’s program focused on leading-edge research, regulatory policy and practice, and ethical leadership in the gambling sector. Which particular topics across these areas dominated the conversation, and what were attendees able to learn from experts in this field?

At this year's "Regulating the Game" conference, the agenda was rich with discussions on forefront research, regulatory practices, and the pillars of ethical leadership within the gambling sector. A central theme was the critical issue of anti-money laundering (AML), a topic of paramount importance both in Australia and globally.

Attendees had the privilege of engaging with a panel of esteemed AML experts, including a keynote from Amanda Wood of Kroll, who delved into emerging threats in the gaming sector, and Dr. Jamie Ferrill from Charles Sturt University, who discussed the high stakes of combating money laundering in the industry. These sessions, marked by vigorous participant engagement, were among the highlights, offering deep dives into the intricacies of financial crime prevention.

Leadership and ethics was another standout with a keynote talk from Dr Attracta Lagan, Principal, Managing Values on How leaders can raise the ethical floor below the gaming industry. We also had keynote talks from industry stewards Ciarán Carruthers, Chief Executive Officer, Crown Resorts, and Adam Rytenskild, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Tabcorp as well as a riveting presentation from Tracy Schrans, President, Focal Research Consultants Limited Making Gambling Safer for Everyone:  From Affordability to Active Prevention.

Our program's depth, covering a spectrum of topics critical to shaping public policy and advancing sector practices, facilitated rich dialogues and invaluable learning opportunities. It was particularly noteworthy that such a distinguished array of international speakers joined us to share their experiences and insights, further enriching the conversation and underscoring the global relevance of the issues discussed.

One of the key objectives of Regulating the Game is to help harmonize regulatory needs with industry innovation. As AI gains a larger footprint in the gambling sector, what opportunities and challenges do you see it bringing to the table? Was this issue explored in the conference?

With AI becoming increasingly prevalent, the conference explored both the potential benefits and the challenges this technology presents for the gambling sector. Opportunities for AI include enhancing customer experience through hyper personalization, improving cyber security measures, offering more personalized responsible gambling interventions as well as bolstering anti-money laundering arrangements. However, challenges such as privacy and data protection, ethical use of AI, and investing in people to build the capability to leverage AI to enhance practices and outcomes.

A key AI application for the gambling sector that is gaining momentum is predictive tools to identify potential gambling harm and money laundering risks which can be flagged for analyst review as well as escalating intervention ranging from reminders and alerts to the player as well as operator management.

A challenge is to continue to refine the models to identify potential money laundering and shift the dial toward gambling harm prevention by alerting players and operators about potential risks. The tension is to avoid disturbing the majority of players with unnecessary alerts, interruptions, and invasive checks that can cause undue apprehension and spoil the customer experience.  

It’s a burgeoning space and we had some terrific platform providers that are operating in the market speak at Pitch! and we are excited about how these platforms can enhance practices and outcomes for the sector and regulators.

This year, Regulating the Game featured an exclusive Masterclass Series on its event agenda. What did this series encompass, and what was the reception you received from visitors and stakeholders for this feature?

This year's introduction of the Masterclass Series was met with enthusiastic reception. These sessions were designed to offer attendees more expert instruction and hands-on learning providing a deeper understanding of specific regulatory and compliance issues.

Covering topics from media and crisis management, artificial intelligence and anti-money laundering risk assessments, compliance programs, and enhanced customer due diligence, the Masterclass Series provided a unique opportunity for participants to engage with leading subject matter experts and take away actionable insights and practical knowledge to their professional roles.

We were fortunate to have senior leaders and subject matter experts from Gaming Laboratories International,, Boston Reputation, Custos Advisory, and KordaMentha deliver the Masterclass Series for the Sydney conference.

The Masterclass feedback was exceptional and attendees really appreciated the expertise and detail of the sessions. Masterclass will be a feature of Regulating the Game going forward.

This Sydney edition came at a time of change in the Australian policy landscape, which remains under careful examination, with new regulatory proposals and discussions impacting both the land-based and online sectors. In which ways did Regulating the Game help local stakeholders chart the future of the Australian industry?

Regulating the Game offered a vital platform for engaging with change, sharing international lessons, and fostering a dialogue that supports innovation while maintaining robust regulation for a thriving and secure industry.

By leveraging a blend of local expertise and global perspectives, the event created a unique environment for exchanging insights and strategies. International experts brought to the table their experiences and lessons from abroad, challenging conventional approaches and encouraging the adoption of innovative practices and policies. This global outlook is essential, recognizing the universal nature of the gambling industry and the shared challenges and opportunities it faces.

A central mission of Regulating the Game is to facilitate open, ongoing conversations about the industry's complexities. It aims to strike a balance between stringent, risk-based regulation and the nurturing of an environment conducive to innovation and growth. More than reacting to controversies, the conference emphasizes the sector's need for continuous leadership and advocacy, promoting a forward-looking dialogue that champions both regulatory excellence and industry advancement.

Furthermore, the event underscored the importance of professionalizing regulatory policy and practice. It championed collaborative efforts to formulate well-informed policies and ensure effective industry oversight, laying the foundation for a sector that not only thrives economically but also stands firm against financial crime and prioritizes safer gambling practices. Through these discussions, Regulating the Game positioned itself as an important forum for guiding stakeholders through the complexities of the industry’s evolving regulatory challenges.

Regulating the Game - Sydney 2024

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