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Online Gaming and Regulation: Looking Back to Move Forward


Jorn Starck, Executive Director Alderney Gambling Control Commission


Julian Hoskins, Principal, Senet Legal


Jorn Starck is the Executive Director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC). Jorn joined AGCC in 2007. In 2011 he assumed the role of Director of Compliance and in 2014 was promoted to Director of Regulatory Operations. Prior to joining the AGCC Jorn worked in various parts of the eGambling industry, including betting and gaming operators and affiliates. During his 20-year career in the gambling industry he has held a wide range of senior and managerial roles, focusing primarily on online gambling.


What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned from online gaming that influences everything you do going forward - and why?


As the online gambling industry is so young, there have been many lessons learned over the last 20 years or so, many that are key to the development of the sector. However, from a regulatory point of view, the most important lesson learned in our own experience, and anecdotally from peers, is to apply a risk-based approach to regulatory requirements as opposed to an overly prescriptive or formulaic approach. It is this approach that is applied to all processes adopted by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission's (AGCC) framework. It also complements other regulatory and oversight bodies' approach from FATF to other top tier regulators.


Te online gambling sector is evolving rapidly in every way and in particular in respect of technological advancements month-on-month. Te lessons observed by the AGCC with our near 20 year experience to date is that being too prescriptive or formulaic in an ever-evolving sector is foolhardy. Applying requirements and procedures in a risk-based manner ensures proportionality and allows operations to be fit for purpose and the industry to evolve and grow accordingly.


If we all assessed the sector in five year segments since the online world emerged 20 years or so ago, we would observe fundamental differences in every aspect of the sector. As such, it is important to be flexible and nimble, whilst most importantly, maintaining consistent and reliable best practice standards that are reflective of the balance of interests, some competing, some complementary, relating to player protection requirements and technological advancements. It is important that industry and regulators are collaborating with similar objectives overall."


Julian Hoskins is a Principal of Australian law firm Senet Legal. He specialises in providing legal services to clients in all sectors of the gambling and entertainment industry. Prior to commencing with Senet Legal, Julian held various General Counsel roles within Tabcorp, being Australia’s largest gambling and entertainment company, over a period of almost 10 years. Prior to Tabcorp, he held several senior positions in large law firms in Australia and Europe, predominantly acting for highly regulated clients including those in the gambling sector.


What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned from online gaming that influences everything you do going forward - and why?


It is absolutely critical to understand in detail the online gaming product and software functionality and consider it from an integrity and responsible gambling perspective. Tis is a primary focus of gambling regulators and, by correlation, lawyers.


Legal and regulatory issues associated with traditional forms of online product (for example, casino games) are generally well understood. It is emerging technology, product and software, together with its integration into traditional product, which is presenting the biggest challenges. An example is cryptocurrency gambling and the use of blockchain technology generally.


Tere has been significant growth of online operators offering cryptocurrency transactions as a real money alternative. Conceptually, there is no reason why cryptocurrency gambling should not be permitted in a particular jurisdiction, provided there is robust regulation of cryptocurrency and exchanges in that jurisdiction, including the requirement to comply with relevant AML/CTF laws. Tis will ultimately reduce the risk to the operator and consumers, including as a result of fraudulent activity.


Putting aside cryptocurrency, blockchain technology generally is starting to emerge as a possible means of verifying the integrity of a game and as an endorsement of reliability (for example, Edgeless). Tis has the potential to lead to more innovation and increase the attractiveness of online product. Online product must be sensibly regulated to ensure the on-going sustainability of the industry. Ultimately the underlying issue is the question of integrity and responsible gambling. Te challenge will be whether laws can keep up with the pace of industry disruptors.


Events


IAGA SUMMIT Macau 2018


How do markets where online gaming isn’t currently offered evaluate if, when and how to legalise online gambling? How is the online segment adapting to new considerations like the growth of blockchain technology? What challenges will regulating cryptocurrency gambling pose? At the IAGA Summit in Macau online experts from around the world evaluate how the gaming industry is planning for the future by first reflecting on its past. G3 asks Jorn Stark and Julian Hoskins for their views on the topic.


Conceptually, there is no


reason why cryptocurrency gambling should not be permitted in a particular


jurisdiction, provided there is robust regulation of cryptocurrency and exchanges in that


jurisdiction, including the requirement to comply with


relevant AML/CTF laws. This will ultimately reduce the risk to the operator and


consumers, including as a result of fraudulent activity.


IAGA


The International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) will hold its 37th annual International Gaming Summit May 14 - 16 at the Four Seasons Macao in Macau, China.


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE /MARKET DATA P105


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