International edition
September 24, 2020

Interview with GLI's Karen Sierra-Hughes

"GLI's Roundtable will be a perfect blend of learning and networking"

"In this Roundtable, we will have regulators that will discuss in depth the Colombia and Spain experience, as well as the Peru regulator who will share his plans for regulating online gaming and sports betting."
Peru | 07/25/2018

In an exclusive interview with Yogonet.com, GLI’s Director of Latin American and Caribbean Government Relations and Business Development Karen Sierra provided insight into the upcoming 2018 Latin American and Caribbean Regulators Roundtable, which is scheduled for August 6-8, in Lima, Peru.

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hat are your expectations for the 2018 Latin American and Caribbean Regulators Roundtable?

We are very excited to produce the Latin American and Caribbean Regulators Roundtable. This is our 11th annual Roundtable in the region, and each year our attendance gets better and better. For example, last year, we welcomed gaming and lottery regulators and government lotteries from 18 different countries. What some people might not know is we produce the Roundtable free of charge and attendance is exclusive for gaming and lottery regulators and government lotteries. We do that because we are deeply committed to gaming and lotteries in the region, and we are expected to create an event that attendees will gain tremendous value from as we present a wide range of important issues affecting the gaming and lottery sectors.

We expect this year’s Roundtable to continue to be a unique event that allows discussions surrounding innovation, strategy, collaboration, and learning. Our host regulator is the General Director of the DGJCMT, the gaming regulatory entity in Peru, and this adds to the high expectations of success of the event, as Mr. Manuel San Román Benavente is a highly respected regulator. His insights are sought after by many jurisdictions who are looking to implement similar policies and practices as those in Peru. There would be no Roundtable without the support of the host regulator, and we are extremely grateful to Mr. San Román Benavente and his team for the support and enthusiasm during the organization of the event.

What can you tell us about the speakers that you have invited to join GLI's experts this year?

We have 28 speakers lined up for this year’s conference, and topics covered will include iGaming, sports betting, licensing, development and implementation of new games, regulatory updates, money laundering controls, testing and certification, responsible gaming and more. The value of the Roundtable is in the experience and information that is shared among regulators and government lotteries first-hand. Regulators offer their real-world challenges and success stories, providing an opportunity to engage in an authentic and personal manner regarding key topics of mutual interest.

What can regulators expect to learn from attendance at GLI's Roundtable?

Attendees can expect a perfect blend of learning and networking. We created the Roundtable for gaming and lottery regulators and government lotteries to give those attendees a more solid foundation of understanding, cooperation, and networking where attendees can learn about best practices from across the region and from around the world. Additionally, we wanted to help to foster a sense of a common interest in the prosperity and regulated growth of the Latin American and Caribbean industry, and that’s why we have placed such a large emphasis on the networking aspect of the event. Balancing those two initiatives – learning and networking – and the fact that it is the only event that is exclusively for gaming and lottery regulators and government lotteries, are the two facts that set our Roundtable apart from other conferences.

Do the casino and lottery industries need to revamp their gaming offerings to attract new audiences? How can they achieve this goal?

Technology evolves every day. The challenge for regulators and government lotteries is how to balance protecting the public trust while also adapting conditions to allow for new technologies. Regulators and government lotteries in Latin America and the Caribbean are understanding and learning that this balance is crucial to keep illegal gaming out of their jurisdictions and create the conditions to build an industry that is transparent, fair and where the players and operators are protected. It’s important for the casino and lottery industries to be mindful of new technologies – whether by attending the many tradeshows this region has to offer or by discussing emerging technologies with us at GLI. We can help them make sense of what they are seeing, lend insights into how the technologies might affect their jurisdiction, and help them devise a regulatory plan.

Colombia is the pioneering country in Latin America. Peru is working on its regulatory framework. How can GLI's Roundtable help regulators to better understand online gaming and sports betting?

Online gaming and sports betting are important topics for Colombia and Peru, and for jurisdictions around the world, and as an industry, we understand that online gaming is most successful when both online and retail channels are conveniently available to players. We considered this in our GLI Standards, which are used by many regulators in their efforts to establish their own technical requirements. GLI-33 which is the draft standard published for Event Wagering, includes requirements for retail online operations. Once GLI-33 is finalized, regulators will have a framework that allows regulators to embrace new technology while also defending the public trust. The development process that takes place for each Standard drafted and release by GLI is a perfect example of how global our knowledge and expertise is, and how impartial our advice is. For GLI-33, we had a team of more than 75 people who, for more than a year, researched best practices from around the world to create one standard for event wagering systems. A similar process took place for the GLI-19 (Interactive Gaming Standard) development and we look forward to working with the industry and regulators on their path to innovation and securing a responsible growth that allows for integrity and protection of all the stakeholders. Specifically, in this Roundtable, we will have regulators that will discuss in depth the Colombia and Spain experience, as well as the Peru regulator who will share his plans for regulating online gaming and sports betting.

Topics such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, fantasy sports and loot boxes are part of the agenda. Are Latin America regulatory entities ready for the challenges that these technologies bring in? Jurisdictions in the region have different levels of technology and innovation in their jurisdictions, and the same happens regulatory-wise. We have supported regulators who decided that technology advances are a must to help their jurisdictions on their path to success, and we are working with those that are doing a situational analysis to determine how best to proceed. For those who are not ready yet, now is the time to prepare, and the LatAm and Caribbean Roundtable is the perfect opportunity to start those discussions. The debate about these technologies continues at many levels, from their development to implementation to consumer acceptance; however, it is always a good idea for regulators to be ahead of the game in terms of readiness, rather than being forced into a reactive stance. At the Roundtable, several experts will address these topics and will also discuss potential pros and cons along with risks and benefits.

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