At the just concluded ICE London 2022, while delivering a speech at the ICE World Regulatory Briefing, the CEO of the UK Gambling Commission; Andrew Rhodes, who joined the Commission in June, 2021 called for greater cross-border collaboration amongst regulators of the gaming industries. He stated that, this collaboration will lead to joint investigations and action against operators who fail to meet stipulated standards in today’s regulated market, which will in turn protect the public better; as more powerful multinationals take up greater stake in the global gaming market.
Rhodes further stated in his speech that global gambling authorities must do more to share practices, understandings and outcomes, with the focus of improving regulation and reducing problem gambling.
According to Rhodes, the global gambling industry has been consolidating for quite some time, and a number of mergers and acquisitions and ever more complex ownership structure, are on the rise in Great Britain. He added that collaboration would need to be a major tool, across markets, jurisdictions and cultures, in order to make gambling fairer and safer for consumers worldwide. He stated further that things that are not being done well in Great Britain are likely to be issues in other countries too, hence the need for regulatory collaboration.
He went on to highlight some of the Gambling Commission’s successes in tackling the challenges created by technological innovations such as mobile gambling, which included the banning of gambling via credit cards, making GAMSTOP mandatory for online operators in Great Britain and ensuring strengthened protections for High Value Customers.
Rhodes further stated in his speech that the Gambling Commission is in the process of changing how novel products like cryptocurrency and NFTs are regulated and dealt with, as the industry is likely to see more and more integration of these products into the areas of sports and lifestyle. He added that more must be done to consider the growth of these new products, which is now being adjudged as part of the gambling ecosystem.
While he did not say that the Gambling Commission should be regulating such products, as many of these new products are not gambling as defined by law; he however, said that it is becoming increasingly complex to decide what is and is not gambling; as talks of ‘investment and trading’ has changed language with these products. However, he expressed the view, that the one thing that cannot be overlooked, is that these novel products bring lucrative growth areas and we ignore them at our peril.