The Fight to Comply: The Latest Tech Enabling Operators to Navigate Regulation

Paul Jerram Head of Compliance Chats Complaince

However, as regulation evolves so must the technology that helps operators to adhere to it. Paul Jerram discusses with Gambling News about the latest compliance innovations and what professionals should know to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

What are the most challenging aspects of compliance that the igaming sector faces today?

The word ‘uncertainty’ sums up the industry’s compliance issues aptly. This is evident if we look at UK-facing operators that are sometimes reliant on an uncertain approach to updating regulation, largely because of an outcomes-based regulation model and a hostile press that heavily scrutinises the industry’s every move.

We’ve been told a white paper is circulating in Parliament that will provide some clarity, but this has been outstanding for far too long. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to change entire corporate cultures to deal with a minority of vulnerable customers. There’s an argument that the uncertainty caused by these regulations has actually served to harm the consumers it’s meant to protect, with operators working with multiple interpretations of unclear guidelines.

Further afield, it’s been suggested that Curaçao will introduce wide-ranging changes to its licencing regime at the end of 2022. Here, we see the same problem – operators being told about changes in regulation, but with little detail to help update processes and controls. Appropriate changes are welcome, but hopefully, Curaçao doesn’t follow a model that irreparably damages its economy and gaming sector.

How has compliance technology evolved in recent years and how is this helping igaming businesses to navigate these challenges?

Compliance-facing technology has evolved exponentially over the past several years in the licensed gaming industry, particularly in identifying a minority of vulnerable consumers. However, it often seems like this technology is doing more harm to the growth of the sector than good. The need for extensive ID verification, affordability checks, AML procedures, and safer gaming solutions has created a great deal of friction in the onboarding process.

Here, again, we see uncertainty caused by regulations harming the customers it’s designed to protect, with operators working to multiple interpretations. This creates unnecessary difficulties for consumers and locks out many that are incorrectly labelled as vulnerable.

In which parts of the world is a third-party compliance partner most necessary now? Why is that the case?

Some jurisdictions are more complex than others. This is especially the case in newly regulated markets where a company needs to be quick and agile to remain compliant. Businesses entering the online space in LatAm and Africa are good illustrations of this. Sportingtech recently supplied 888AFRICA with a platform solution in Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and Zambia, and all these territories come with their own different and diverse regulatory authorities. Each country has its own tax rate and differences in the way they need to be presented. For instance, the Tanzanian regulator insists upon software that tracks transactions as they are made so they can be verified later.

Details like these are not set in stone, they’re constantly shifting and evolving. This can be a lot to contend with for operators going it alone, so it is advisable to choose the right partner to help navigate peculiarities like these in order to remain compliant.

The risk to personal data has increased exponentially in recent years, what additional steps need to be taken to ensure this information remains safe? 

The operators that I’ve worked for have quite rightly always done their utmost to protect personal data. Achieving internationally recognised standards such as ISO27001, WLA SCS and GLI certification helps to demonstrate the lengths that operators go to in order to do so. This has helped operators to remain focused on the significance of cybersecurity within ever-changing regulatory environments. Crucially, businesses need to be nimble when it comes to adapting their practices to constant market and regulatory changes. An advisable step would be to partner with a flexible platform provider that has experience in operating within multiple regulatory landscapes.