ICE London: Good regulations promote compliance and commercial growth, say senior leaders

February 14, 2024 8:41 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Jake Pollard, CDC Gaming Reports
February 14, 2024 8:41 PM

Combining gambling compliance with commercial growth is now a widely accepted strategic focus for most corporations working in the gambling industry today but regulators and lawmakers must also listen to industry calls for business-friendly regulations, a group of senior executives told delegates during an ICE Vox discussion on how to “connect ethics with business value” and “operationalise compliance” as part of igaming companies’ corporate roadmaps.

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David Yatom Hay, General Counsel at Soft2Bet, said the compliance teams in his company “work closely with the commercial departments to understand the interaction between all these different factors and how they can drive the business forward,” but also warned that the type of regulation markets adopted had a major impact on how successful they were in channeling players to regulated operators.

Regulated markets can issue regulations that operators can work with and generate profits or they can make it hard for the industry by imposing strict “limits on advertising or bonuses that mean operators struggle to make money”.

“This ends up producing the exact opposite results than those wished for because it pushes out regulated operators and allows illegal ones to come in and take advantage. How can we address this? We can join up as an industry and encourage regulators to create good regulation for the industry,” said Yatom Hay.

Monika Grue, Director of Regulatory Compliance at LiveScore Group, added that “support from C-level executives is paramount in enabling sustainable, long term growth”. “At Live Score Group we have embedded compliance targets into our forecasts and results, this way we reinforce the message from our leadership teams and through the company at all levels.”

Speaking from a U.S. perspective, Erin Copeland, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, said her group had evolved dramatically in how it viewed compliance.

“We have moved much closer to the tribe’s values with regard to how we view compliance. This has enabled us to build it up from a narrow definition to a much broader view and we’re getting really good buy-in from our teams because of our emphasis on culture, character and authenticity.”

Grue added that as regulations evolve and companies in the sector ensure they are always prepared and understand future change, “compliance executives and companies like Live Score make the industry safer. If we didn’t exist everyone would be on the black market and there would be no protections for players”.

Addressing the issue of advertising and how the sector can be perceived by the public, Victoria Vilela Fernandes, Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance at Kambi, said that when markets regulate operators often repeat the same mistakes for which they get heavily criticized. “You see markets regulating and still operators make the same mistake with too much advertising and marketing, whether it’s in Europe, the U.S. and Latin America”, such as in Brazil, Vilela Fernandes’s home country. “Having seen what’s happened in Europe” with vast amounts of gambling advertising, “operators are doing exactly the same” in regulation regions nowadays.

Yatom Hay closed the panel by saying he was “optimistic that regulators can work with operators and suppliers to generate dialogue and move forward thanks to good communications between senior executives, regulators and all stakeholders”.