Brigitte Sand, the president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), has urged private gaming companies to open up a dialogue with regulators in an effort to establish technical standardisation and regulatory harmonisation in the industry.
Sand, speaking this (Tuesday) morning at the World Regulatory Briefing at ICE Totally Gaming, insisted that despite building momentum from international regulators to establish a standardised framework, it is not a process that can be successfully implemented without broader input. “We can’t do this by ourselves, and we definitely need to involve the industry,” Sand, who is also director of Denmark’s Gambling Authority, said.
“I’d love to see the IAGR trustees liaise with the industry in a more direct way and inviting the industry to present to us their best ideas. “To start with, what are the most important areas to focus on? There are perhaps as many as 20 issues that are important, but what are the top three? We need to learn from the industry: what do they want from us? “Most regulators do not have sufficient staff and funding so we need you to teach us and instruct us on the best way to harmonise things.”
Sand added that operators should “get organised so you can speak with one tongue”. Sitting on the same panel session, Steve Brennan, the chief executive of the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, echoed Sand’s comments by saying such a “utopian” vision of standardisation can only be achieved “with everyone getting involved”. He added: “There’s some serious momentum behind harmonisation of standards. We all have standards we are quite precious about, but we need to find the time to work with others.
“It is important to involve everybody in this as it will provide a very consistent standard for regulators and operators to launch from.” Moderator Richard Schuetz, the commissioner of the California Gaming Control Board, agreed that there is “nothing worse than a regulator consumed with fear and ignorance, as it will destroy an industry”. Susan Hensel, the director of licensing at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and a former president of the IAGR, added that harmonisation would strengthen the sector as a whole. “The way forward right now is to tackle technical standards,” she said.
“Through IAGR we have a technical standards subcommittee and last year it published land-based standards. In the US we still have a relatively blank slate.” David Rebuck, the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement in the US, acknowledged that standardisation is “desperately needed”.
“We shouldn’t be walking alone as regulators,” he said. “These standards are essentially going to safeguard the companies and customers and make the product more viable. “We talk about standardisation in the US, and when we mention the standards in terms of player protection, licensing, regulation of affiliates, tackling money laundering and so on, everyone would agree with 99 per cent of the policy. The challenge is how the details are going to be established.”