artin Britton, in his new role as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, discussed various topics in relation to GLI's present and future. He delved into the company's recent expansion into EMEA, shared his first conclusions on the sports betting industry's development after the U.S. Supreme Court stroke down PASPA and told us what to expect from the laboratory at ICE London.
What will be the highlights and differences of GLI’s presence at ICE 2019 compared to previous editions?
This year at ICE, we are excited to present the leadership of our fully expanded team of locally based experts, as our team is now fully integrated across EMEA. On our stand will be leaders from GLI and NMi, together under the GLI brand. Attendees will recognize familiar faces with some new roles and titles, namely Martin Britton, Managing Director, EMEA; Chris Davies, VP Sales EMEA, GLI UK ; Dr. Richard Edwards, Ph.D., Managing Director and VP of Engineering EMEA, GLI UK ; James Illingworth, VP Sales EMEA, GLI Europe; and Andrew Rosewarne, Managing Director, GLI UK . We are excited because we can now serve our customers even better, having this combined team’s talents, experience, and capabilities. What this means for all of our clients – regulator, operator, and supplier – is they each now have access to more resources than ever before.
Which are your key expectations for the show, regarding visitors, new deals, networking and partnerships? Which are the main topics or upcoming trends of the industry you think will take center stage at the event?
ICE is always a fantastic show for GLI, and we expect the same for this edition. The last few months leading into ICE have been incredibly busy for GLI globally, and speaking specifically for the EMEA team, we have been growing and expanding throughout every corner of the region, from the UK to South Africa and all points in between. What’s interesting from our perspective is all those points in between is everywhere iGaming and Sports Betting is going, and that will be a key focus of our ICE exhibit because it’s important to our clients. We have worked incredibly hard to earn and keep the trust of regulators, suppliers, operators, and affiliates in iGaming, and that’s because we are relentless in our pursuit of excellence as we test all areas of iGaming where regulated including skill-based games, daily fantasy sports, interactive, sports betting, social gaming, geo-location, internet gaming, eLottery, security auditing, professional services, mobile, and play-for-fun. We have unparalleled expertise in iGaming in every corner of the world, and we’re excited to talk about our services and how we can help our customers succeed and excel.
What does ICE London mean for you as a laboratory this year in particular?
ICE is a great event for us and an excellent opportunity to showcase our expertise and services we can offer in assisting clients through the regulatory process. We have an impressive team that can help any client with anything they need to know about compliance testing or process. Our scale is key in helping clients, and we can demonstrate this at ICE and beyond.
You’ve recently launched Part Two of your White Paper on sports betting. What can you tell us about it? What are the main issues and opportunities the industry will face this year in that regard?
Many regulators and suppliers have come to use GLI as a resource to help create a consistent and effective technical framework and to understand the regulatory landscape within the U.S. since PASPA has been repealed. We realized quickly there was a need to share information and to help educate some stakeholders within the U.S., so everyone gets up to speed while speaking the same language, which can be quite unique for sports betting. To help, we created several resources: a webinar focused on sports betting, a two-part sports betting whitepaper, and the GLI-33 technical standard which has become the most widely adopted technical framework in the U.S. so far. In general, there have been a wide variety of issues on the policy side within each opening market with important decisions like tax structures, integrity fees, authorized events, etc. Once those are settled and the implementation phase begins, this is where GLI’s experts are engaged, and we can help regulators and manufacturers achieve their policy initiatives in an efficient way via the technology and/or operational processes. We think there is a strong opportunity to establish a uniformity to the way technology is tested, certified, and audited even amidst varying policy decisions in each market.
Could you summarize your first conclusions on the industry’s development after PASPA?
Implementation has grown fairly quickly since May 2017 where we now have seven markets that have opened, with more likely to come in 2019, albeit progress may be potentially impeded a bit with the reinterpretation of the Wire Act. In general, we’ve seen a rather seamless introduction of the technology into the U.S., with only a few hiccups so far. We’ve seen a clear distinction in the popularity of mobile platform usage arising from the figures coming out of New Jersey, and there’s been a strong incorporation of novel content and features make available to players via those mobile channels. In general, the technology has proven to capable of supporting the policy objectives with proper and thorough evaluation and technical standards. It will be very interesting to see more markets open and the trends/characteristics that arise via the various regulatory models, as well as the varying characteristics of the U.S. bettor.
Could you detail your current presence in the United Kingdom, and your prospects for the country regarding Brexit process throughout this year? How could it affect the gaming industry?
We have an operation in UK, and we feel Brexit will not cause any real concerns for GLI or for the gaming business related to compliance services. While Brexit is in a stage of instability right now, I feel once the situation becomes stable, rational thinking will prevail regarding business and cross-border interests.