International edition
October 16, 2021

Exclusive interview with Karen Sierra-Hughes

"Sports betting and igaming queries took center stage at GLI’s stand in London"

GLI’s major challenge is to keep up with everything that is going on in every country in the region and find out the different ways in which we can support our clients," she explained.
United Kingdom | 02/28/2020

During ICE London 2020, GLI's Director of Government Relations and Business Development, LatAm and Caribbean spoke about the interest generated by online gaming and sports betting among operators and regulations and also highlighted the hard work the lab does to accompany the authorities in each jurisdiction in the development of gambling regulations.


ould you provide details on GLI’s experience at this year’s ICE London?

ICE was a great success for GLI. This year has many important regulatory advancements ahead and as a consequence, new and exciting opportunities to expand into new markets are opening up to our global customers.

Many of our clients were really interested in getting to know the current state and prospects for the United States and Latin America. Something similar to what happens also in Europe, where even though there are many mature jurisdictions in terms of legislation, some of them are in the process of strengthening their own regulations and staying ahead of the challenges they pose by holding knowledge about players’ behavior and the technologies available to reinforce consumer protections.

ICE also represented an amazing opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues in Africa, Europe, and North America, the synergy of knowledge and support among the groups in each region was invaluable.

What type of queries were the most common at ICE and which countries had more prominence?

We noticed many industry representatives from countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina, among other Latin American jurisdictions.

Sports betting and online gambling took center stage among Latin American operators and suppliers.

Operators were also interested in extending their gaming offering and it is in this segment that collaboration and exhibitions like ICE become particularly relevant because it is there where major business deals to add content to their platforms are closed or begin.

We are proud to see that the work we do generates new expansion and growth opportunities.

Colombia remains really popular among suppliers of online gambling content, as well as Argentina, where new markets are beginning to arise.

The regulatory processes currently taking place in Brazil and Peru are also being followed closely, as well as other opportunities in jurisdictions such as Panama.

There were also plenty of Latin American regulators at ICE. Something Clarion’s LatAm team does really well is to create and boost valuable content to lure entities and regulators who not only participate in panel discussions to speak about the current regulatory scenario in their jurisdictions as well as prospect for the future but also provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with them and get to know first hand. what is happening in each of their countries and help them develop their expansion strategies and adapt them to the information they acquire.

Having a forum in which we are able to speak about our industry, to discuss different regulatory frameworks and efforts to continue strengthening monitoring processes to achieve sustained and responsible growth, is of utmost importance to Latin American countries.

Online gaming obviously drew plenty of attention during the show, but which land-based related topics are still part of ICE’s agenda?

Even though online gambling took center stage, it is worth noting that in many Latin American countries there is plenty of potential for new retail markets. That is the case in jurisdictions such as Brazil and Peru, which are in very different stages of a process aimed at establishing a world-class regulatory framework for not only online but also land-based sports betting.

Buenos Aires City, in Argentina, is likely to begin a licensing process soon, so that drew plenty of attention too.

We feel honored to have become a source of collaboration for our clients during ICE, we appreciate the industry’s confidence in us and that our customers have allowed us to become key players in the industry.

What can you tell us about the now consolidated Colombian market?

Even though Colombian was not the first Latin American jurisdiction to legalize online gambling, it was the first market to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework covering technical, legal and financial aspects.

Colombia’s regulator not only managed to establish a consolidated licensing process but also through the technical aspects of that process it set the basis to obtain the necessary data to get to know the size of the industry, players’ behavior, and other important trends.

From a strategic standpoint, this makes Colombia unique, since this information, together with an open-door policy in the interaction among operators, providers, and interested parties enables authorities to plan and develop a regulatory strategy that makes the industry flourish, a win-win scenario.

Which do you believe are the main challenges in the region and which opportunities does it pose for laboratories such as GLI?

GLI’s major challenge is to keep up with everything that is going on in every country in the region and find out the different ways in which we can support our clients, regardless of the stage on which the stand in their expansion or development plans.

GLI offers a comprehensive set of services as we invest in hiring experts in each region who understand the peculiarities of the different jurisdictions and complement that knowledge with our global experience. We support jurisdictions since the development of gaming legislation, implementation rules technical compliance, certification, training, responsible gaming, money laundering prevention policies, cybersecurity and more and we do not do it “slightly”. Each area is led and made up of experts with proven experience in each segment.

During our first steps in the region 20 years ago, Latin American suppliers have developed a self-regulation culture, which is something to look up to and celebrate.

Latin American suppliers believed in the potential a GLI certification has, based on the standars we have been developing and updating through the years.

Our mission is to work hand in hand with our regulators, operators and suppliers in a transparent, independent, honoured and responsible way so they can achieve their goals.

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