The KPMG Gibraltar eSummit recently hosted another edition of the Continent 8 Leaders and Legends gathering, which brings together some of the foremost figures from the global gambling industry to discuss the latest industry news and events.
This year’s summit featured luminaries such as Edo Haitin, CEO of Playtech Live; Joanne Whittaker, CEO of Betfred; Shay Segev, CEO of DAZN; and Vaughan Lewis, 888 Holdings’ Chief Strategy Officer. Asking the questions was Micky Swindale, Partner at KPMG’s Global Gaming Team.
Of particular interest in this year’s session was the question of further gambling restrictions being considered by the UK government. Currently, online gambling regulation in the UK differs from the EU, with the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act enforcing strict rules which, among other things, limit the size of bonuses that online casinos can offer.
However, if the government decides to push through its latest proposed reforms to the Gambling Act, restrictions could become even tighter for all gambling operators within the UK.
The impact of new regulations
When asked what impact these new regulations could have, Joanne Whittaker explained,
“We just need to know what is coming. The review is hanging over us and we just need to be able to move on as an industry. We are agile, we evolve. We have heard some of the expected changes around slot stake limits, enhanced affordability checks, the levy and so on but until we know exactly what changes are coming, it is hard to properly prepare. Of course, as a business, we are trying to get ready for what is to come. I think initially there was a bit of panic, but we have got passed that now.”
Vaughan Lewis was more optimistic, stating,
“For us, we just want clarity about what are the standards that we need to meet. Once operators have that clarity, we then back ourselves to be able to provide a great player experience but with high levels of safety and within the standards set.”
The difference between the restrictive attitude of the UK government, and the more liberal approach on the continent, was brought into stark relief with the next question. Swindale asked DAZN’s Shay Segev what made Gibraltar “such an appealing jurisdiction”, and Segev explained how “amazing” Gibraltar was “in terms of the government’s support for the industry and the infrastructure it has provided”. According to Segev, Gibraltar is also “highly respected in terms of its regulatory framework and standards”.
The fact is that, with so many different jurisdictions and government legislations to cope with in the global gambling industry, both operators and game providers often have to navigate difficult waters depending on where they are based.
Vaughan Lewis perhaps summed it up best, saying, “If you were to ask all operators and suppliers if you could wave a magic wand and have harmonised rules across the world, I think the vast majority would say that is the dream scenario.”
However, in the real world, some jurisdictions remain more flexible than others, and all operators in the UK should prepare themselves for the possible restrictions looming in the near future.