Susan O’Leary examines how the Alderney Gambling Control Commission functions to make clients’ regulatory obligations as straightforward as possible
The global online gambling industry presents tremendous opportunities for operators and suppliers, but the current market is full of challenges and uncertainty.
Things are difficult for businesses – on the one hand the regulated markets they’re used to are inconsistent and more volatile lately, forcing them to find other avenues of growth. On the other hand, while pre-regulated markets do not pose the same issues, businesses are less sure how to navigate them.
To address these challenges, operators and suppliers must work with established and trusted regulators, and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has been providing a safe harbour for egaming companies for nearly 20 years, delivering steady, consistent counsel to its licensees and supporting them to thrive. It’s this consistency that operators and suppliers need in uncertain times.
Alderney’s approach is to regulate fairly and appropriately to mitigate the risks and protect the players. Most importantly, their approach and method works. Licensees know that if they apply the Alderney framework to their business model, they will be protecting players and running their business in line with internationally recognised best practice. Each licensee has an industry-experienced, designated relationship manager and a bespoke and tailored framework to mitigate the specific risks of their offering. This is invaluable in navigating the uncertainty posed by other licensing jurisdictions.
This approach is only possible because Alderney has an established framework in place based on practical industry experience that has demonstrated its capacity to keep pace with the rapid rate at which the industry has, and continues, to change and evolve. Most of the team at the AGCC and all of the licensee-facing managers have worked in-industry so they ‘get it’.
Commitment to embracing new developments
The framework is so flexible that it covers all aspects of gambling and does not need to be adjusted to cater for new trends or fads. It’s so good that other major gambling industry regulators have modelled it and adopted it recently. So, while other jurisdictions are reworking their frameworks to ensure they are fit for purpose, there has been no need to reinvent Alderney’s all-encompassing model. For example, while others are making knee- jerk reactions to responsible gambling, social gambling and esports betting to name a few, the AGCC is already able to embrace these new developments within the existing licence framework.
As one of the most experienced regulators in the world, the AGCC really understands the full egaming ecosystem. The AGCC appreciates that the network of operators, suppliers and players work symbiotically and that factors such as responsible gambling and technical and social issues must all work in harmony. If one of these elements runs off course, the knock-on effect is felt through the entire system. It is crucial to consider the complete picture in order to be able to effectively regulate operators and suppliers; the only way to do this requires hands-on experience.
Alderney’s experience also allows it to take a risk- based approach to regulation and licensing. This means we can ensure the regulations being applied to a business are proportionate and prevent the licensee from becoming tangled up in unnecessary red tape.
The collaborative approach
An example of this is our innovative Asia Betting Model that accommodates the ‘agency’ wagering system used across the region. The model ensures that operators and suppliers are working to the highest possible standards, but in a way that allows them to offer the products and services the market needs. We have only been able to deploy such innovative licensing models due to our ongoing presence and collaborations with key decision-makers in new, re- and pre-regulated markets such as Asia, Africa and the US. We have spent a lot of time on the ground in these jurisdictions, sharing our experience with lawmakers, regulators and governments.
In India, for example, the AGCC has been working very closely with the All India Gaming Federation to help put a self-regulatory framework in place for operators and suppliers looking to enter the market prior to the government enacting its own laws. We are doing the same with organisations in Africa, taking a collaborative approach to building robust, future-proof regulatory models.
While widespread regulatory harmonisation is a long way off, we hope by working with regulators in other markets and sharing our experience and knowledge we can help them ensure their frameworks meet the industry’s demands and are flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the sector. This, in turn, helps our licensees enter these markets as we know the state of play in each, and what it takes for them to be compliant. We can also help them better understand the market, and whether their proposition and product is the right fit.
The AGCC approach ensures consumers are properly protected while allowing operators and suppliers to thrive by not stifling them with over-regulation. This makes us different. The concern, of course, is that if other regulators are not taking the same approach, there is a risk operators will be pushed back towards the black market.
It goes without saying that operators and suppliers must meet the highest possible standards, but with increased scrutiny and rising compliance costs, it must be achieved in a way that encourages them to embrace regulation and not shy away from it. By working with the AGCC, operators and suppliers can adapt to and capitalise on any challenge faced.
Our licence uptake is better than it has ever been, and there are plenty of reasons for us gaining licensees while other regulators are losing them. We are the only regulator that can provide the stability and consistency operators and suppliers need to navigate uncertainty while driving growth in egaming markets around the world.
It really is an exciting time for the whole industry; in Asia, Africa, Latin American and the US, we are seeing jurisdictions approach regulation with commitment and determination. Lawmakers in these markets are keen to learn from experienced regulators, and the AGCC is thrilled to be playing such a central and collaborative role in shaping their rules and requirements.
We have been regulating egaming operators and suppliers for a long time now, and we have built a formidable reputation for helping our licensees enter key markets around the world in a way that ensures players are properly protected while also allowing the organisation to push boundaries and drive innovation.
This is only possible because of the consistent and steady foundation we provide our licensees from which to grow their egaming businesses, regardless of what verticals they offer and what mar- kets they operate in.
This article first appeared in eGR Magazine's Jurisdiction Report 2019 - Published November 2018.