On Feb. 7, ICE VOX in association with the International Association of Gaming Advisers held their World Regulatory Briefing in London. The event included a panel entitled “Talking Heads: What is the Perfect Regulatory Eco-System That Promotes Healthy Markets, Player Protection and Integrity for the Industry.” This panel served as part of an ongoing discussion of the role of regulation in creating and maintaining gaming markets across the world.
The panel was moderated by Ewa Bakun, Head of Gaming Content at Clarion Events, and included Ohio State Senator William Coley; Marja Appelman, CEO of the Netherlands Gaming Authority; Richard Schuetz, Executive Director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission; Alan Dunch, Chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, Charles Coppolani, Chairman of Arjel; and Harrie Temmink, Deputy Head of the Online and Postal Unit at DG Internal Market and Services, European Commission.
Moderator Ewa Bakun asked each participant to discuss how their jurisdiction balances consumer protection with fostering a successful industry. Marja Appelman explained that the Netherlands Gaming Authority is focused on getting all stakeholders in the gaming industry to work together to take responsibility for the successful regulation of the industry. One emerging area of concern is stalled legislation regulating online gaming.
Charles Coppolani, representing France, thought that most countries regulate from a position of suspicion, but believes that the health of the market must be a central goal of regulation because, if the industry does not remain healthy, the populous will find entertainment elsewhere.
Richard Schuetz described how regulation developed in the United States alongside the growth of Las Vegas. In the 50s and 60s, the purpose of regulation was to protect and sustain the industry. American policymakers found that to increase investment, employment, and overall success, they needed to ensure that the gaming business was reputable and that the bankrolls of industry participants were protected.
As a legislator, Senator William Coley argued that regulation comes down to math. While consumers think of gaming as chance, the industry creates plenty of solid data that regulators can use to run cost-benefit analyses on proposed pieces of regulation, helping to balance the needs of the industry and the public.
Alan Dunch, discussing Bermuda, felt that the principal driver of the gaming industry was the quality of the tourism product, which encourages foreign investment and drives employment. The jurisdiction’s gaming commission focuses on finding good operators capable of drawing people to the islands.
Harrie Temmink explained that as a super-national organization, the European Commission’s goal is to build trust and cooperation among the regulators, allowing them to build a strong and seamless regulatory framework where the health of the players is the first priority and tourism comes second. Temmink also stressed the importance of skilled and robust legal supervision, explaining that resources for supervision are often lacking.
When Bakun asked the panelists to describe how they interact with the industry, Schuetz explained that he learned more about the industry and regulators from being in the industry than he has by regulating it. He believes that regulators who are from the industry and understand its day-to-day workings are in the best position to solve problems. Dunch confirmed this, explaining that regulators who come from outside don’t know what they don’t know and have to rely on insiders to learn.
Appelman believes that being a good regulator is essential, even if the industry views you as being strict, while Coppolani said that he sees himself not as the regulator of the industry, but a regulator of the market, and that the market includes the consumer.
Senator Coley stressed that when the industry is honest with regulators and gives them true projections, the regulators can make better decisions and the industry benefits from more appropriate regulation.