International edition
September 27, 2020

Interview to Francois Peglau, Legal & Tax Analyst at Gambling Compliance

“Brazil needs an attitude change from its authorities”

(UK, Exclusive Yogonet.com).- British consulting firm Gambling Compliance communicated last month that it opened an office in Washington DC. Yogonet.com interviewed Francois Peglau, Legal & Tax Analyst of the company, who is responsible for researching and writing regulatory content on the site related to Spanish-speaking jurisdictions and taxation. He expressed his opinion on the gaming business in the American continent.

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efore coming to the United Kingdom, Francois Perglau worked in BDO and Deloitte&Touche Peruvian office, working as a tax manager. In 2008 he finished a Master in Law and Taxation at the London School of Economics, where he was awarded with the Pump Court Prize in Taxation.
 
You have recently opened an office in Washington DC, which has been the experience of its first month of operations? Which the main objectives of this office for the coming months?
The primary objective of opening a US office is to establish a presence in Washington DC, the heart of the nation’s hub for regulatory, legislative and policy developments,
The timely launch of the US office comes as a constant stream of states continue to assess expanded gambling measures to mitigate severe budget pressures, while momentum towards regulated Internet gaming continues to build at both state and federal levels.  Some of our US based clients include Harrah’s, Bally Technologies, Churchill Downs and MGM Mirage. We will continue to grow our client base in the coming months, through a dedicated US Daily Newsletter to deliver the US news and analysis and by providing timely coverage of developments through exclusive video insights and interviews with industry leaders.

In your opinion, what are the principal problems of the US online gaming market at a regulatory and legal level? Which are the potential solutions?
There are too many states and sectors to please and many feel that the federal government, by regulating and taxing Internet gambling, would be taking away from a state or a tribe's right to exploit the activity. So we don't expect federal regulation to happen any time soon. However, we are seeing a number of states making moves to regulate Internet gambling within their own borders (Lottery – New Hampshire, New York, Illionis; Poker - California, Florida).

We published a detailed report (Market Barriers: US Internet Gaming) at the beginning of 2010 which comprehensively examines these issues. One of the conclusions of this report was that we will see developments occur more readily at a state level, rather than a federal level, and that lotteries will be key players in this sector.

Do you plan to open offices in Latin America? Why?
We continue to provide truly global coverage, with journalists ‘on the ground’ in key jurisdictions. We currently have no plans to open a Latin American office but we continue to closely follow the developments in this market and provide the most exclusive news coverage that we can deliver via GamblingCompliance.

How do you see the Latin American market in general? Which is its potential?
Latin America is clearly one of the most interesting emerging gambling markets, especially from an online perspective. This is a region with more than 550m inhabitants, with a fast growing economy, with a strong passion for sports and gambling and where most of the population speaks either Spanish or Portuguese. All these factors create extraordinary opportunities for online gambling operators and cross-border gambling.

What do you think Brazil needs for the re-opening of its market?
I think that first you need a change of attitude from Brazilian authorities. The scandals involving bingo operators in 2000 left a bad impression towards the gambling industry and many still think that this industry will lead to crime and money laundering. However, Brazilian legislators need to understand that with proper regulation and supervision they can organize a legitimate industry that can provide jobs to the economy and tax revenues to the government.

There is currently a major gambling bill waiting to be voted in Brazil’s Deputy Chamber, that if approved, it could allow the introduction of bingo and VLTs to Brazil. However, I believe that the current presidential election process will delay the discussion of this bill and probably we will not see any further developments until early 2011.

What does the online gaming need to enter into the Argentinean market? Is it necessary to produce any regulatory or legal change?
It desperately needs clear regulation. At this stage, online gambling is a grey legal area and this brings uncertainty to this very promising market. The fact that the 23 Argentinean provinces and the autonomous city of Buenos Aires have powers to regulate gambling matters within their territories complicates things even further for online gambling. Gamblingcompliance.com has recently published a white paper on the Future of Internet Gaming in Argentina that comprehensively addresses the major opportunities and challenges of operating in this market.

Which are GamblingCompliance projects for the near future?
After successfully opening our US office in Washington DC, we continue to invest heavily into providing the best coverage and staff to establish our brand name in the US market place and gain significant traction in the market. Shortly we will customize our content further by publishing a dedicated US Daily Newsletter. Our ambition to develop innovative solutions drives our future plans, including;  providing an online ‘Dashboard’ for Regulatory Reports, to enhance current report content by including additional information such as key facts, latest developments and related charts and graphs drawn from other GamblingCompliance products. We continue to gain significant recognition in the industry through invitations to moderate or speak in key panels or exhibit at global events, including Global Executive Summit, Madrid, NASPL, Michigan and National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, Napa Valley.

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