UKGC Welcomes A New Age of International Collaboration
UKGC Executive Policy Director Tim Miller has invited worldwide gambling commissions to learn, teach and work with the UKGC. His speech at this year’s Global Gaming Expo welcomes a new age of international collaboration and information sharing to target illegal gambling sites. Let’s look at precisely what he said and why it’s big news.
Global Gaming Expo
The Global Gaming Expo is a yearly event held in the US and organised by the American Gaming Association. It started in 2001, and it’s recognised at North America’s largest gaming and entertainment expo.
This year’s event occurred in The Venetian, Las Vegas, from 9-12th October. The event catalyses innovation and allows the industry to mix, discuss the latest trends, and share product news and updates.
US Gambling Commissions
If you’re a UK reader, the US is a confusing market. The country is enormous, and due to the way laws work there, it’s up to each state to legalise online gambling and create its regulatory infrastructure (commission, laws, tax regimes, etc.)
Every US state that opts to legalise gambling has a different, independent commission that heads up regulations and ensures player safety and operator accountability. There is no equivalency between these commissions. While there are some similarities regarding the rules and set-up, no country-wide standardisation exists.
Likewise, globally, gambling is legal or illegal in different countries, and each jurisdiction sets its own rules for licensing and enforcement.
Collaborating Against Illegal Gambling
Miller started by outlining the current UK gambling market and regulatory outlook, alongside the growing importance of international collaboration with fellow gambling regulators, focusing on enforcement.
The UKCG is well-known to be one of the most active gambling regulators worldwide, issuing massive fines to operators for non-compliance. According to one operator’s research, 85% of all gambling enforcement action worldwide occurs in the UK.
He continued that while the Commission’s tough stance was seeing wins on their home turf, due to the increasingly globalised nature of the internet and gambling operators, many companies were operating in both UK and US markets, so closer collaboration is required.
“We regulate the same companies; we address the same risks; we face the same challenges.”
Miller called for greater information sharing regarding regulatory regimes globally.
“The more gambling regulators know of each others rules, standards and markets, the more we are sharing information and best practice, the more we support each other then the more effective we will be. This in turn makes it harder for uncooperative operators to circumvent a regulator’s regime or means they are more likely to face difficult questions in their home jurisdiction if they act poorly elsewhere. In short, if you are noncompliant in one jurisdiction don’t be surprised if you are the subject of regulatory conversation in other jurisdictions.”
46% Reduction in Traffic to Illegal Gambling Sites
Miller demonstrated the power of collaboration in his open call to the industry, stating that the Commission had been focused on illegal gambling for the last year and through collaboration with payment providers, internet search browsers and product and game developers, it has cut access upstream, resulting in a 46% reduction in traffic to illegal gambling sites.
UKGC: Open Collaboration Worldwide
Discussing the Commission’s approach to new markets, Miller detailed that Chairman Marcus Boyle currently spearheads the Commission in securing a “Memorandum of Understanding” with US regulators to establish clear working relationships.
He openly welcomed delegates from regulators worldwide to work with them. The UKGC had most recently been in discussions with European, Australian and Curacao regulators.
“Only through working together can we ensure we all have safe, fair and crime free gambling. If as regulators we are able to speak, more often, with one voice then it will enhance our ability to influence those outside the industry – who need to play a more positive and direct role in tackling issues like illegal gambling. The collective voice of gambling regulators across the globe pressuring big tech companies, banks and even some other jurisdictions to address the role they play in facilitating illegal gambling, will be much harder to ignore.”
Gambling Commission Chief Andrew Rhodes will further discuss how the UKGC has achieved a 46% reduction in traffic to illegal gambling sites at this week’s International Association of Gambling Regulators (IAGR) Conference.