Responsible gambling and compliance procedures have increasingly come under the microscope during the first months of Swedish re-regulation.
Regulator the Spelinspektionen issued a reminder on such issues earlier in the year, with one operator, PlayOJO, stripping back its advertising and placing a significant focus on such measures.
CasinoBeats has been speaking to Antonio Zanghi, managing director of Maxima Compliance, about the early going in the Scandinavian nation ahead of his appearance at the week’s CasinoBeats Summit.
“The problem that some operators have had is that they are still using outdated compliance procedures“
CasinoBeats: You will be speaking at the CasinoBeats Summit on a panel exploring the first months of the newly-regulated Swedish market. What have we learned from the experience in Sweden so far?
Antonio Zanghi: I think the main takeaway from Sweden is that compliance is now the defining business area for operators in Europe’s high-regulated markets. In the build-up to Sweden’s new framework opening, there was a lot of talk around the implications of compliance requirements, particularly on issues such as bonusing.
But what most did not foresee was that the regulator would pursue breaches so aggressively. We now have a situation where the most successful operators are not necessarily those who are differentiating on product or marketing, but those who have a world-class compliance function that can navigate the new requirements.
CB: Why do you think many operators were caught out in Sweden?
AZ: The problem that some operators have had is that they are still using outdated compliance procedures that are not fit for purpose in a jurisdiction with requirements which, in many instances, have not been seen before. The result has been a series of heavy fines, and even the revocation of licences in some instances.
“Innovation is now every part as important within compliance today”
The operators who have better handled the requirements are those with a 360-degree view of compliance, and the agility to react to the changing landscape. Innovation is now every part as important within compliance today as it is in product development or marketing.
But creative solutions to today’s challenges are only possible if you have the foundations in place across risk profiling, gap analysis and change management.
CB: What can operators and suppliers do to better handle a heavier compliance burden?
AZ: We recommend a 360-degree view of compliance. For a long time, it has been treated as a necessity, not a fundamental part of a gaming business. Changing this culture is critical.
There are a few approaches here. Firstly, compliance needs to be at the heart of everything you do at a business. It cannot be its own department siloed away from the rest of the company. It must be considered across your business, from product development to marketing.
“There has been a fundamental shift in the expectations placed upon operators and suppliers”
Building strategies that account for compliance requirements, rather than reacting to them, is a far more efficient way to work. But this is only possible if you have upskilled your team. Are your devs and marketers aware of the issues and restrictions in place? These are the types of questions everyone now needs to be asking.
CB: What is the outlook for compliance in Europe more generally, and how do you think the industry will adapt?
AZ: Public and political pressure means that, in the regulated markets of Europe and beyond, compliance is only going to become a more important issue.
There has been a fundamental shift in the expectations placed upon operators and suppliers; whereas previously they were expected to meet a minimum bar, today they must shoulder a duty of care towards customers.
The equation is simple: those who want to succeed in these markets need to completely rethink how they approach compliance. Perhaps more than anything else, those who find the best solutions will come to dominate these markets.
Zanghi is to discuss the Swedish market on Wednesday 18 September at 11:30 – 12:05 alongside Fredrik Wastenson, CEO of Svenska Spel Sport and Casino, Kim Larsen, igaming consultant, Gustaf Hoffstedt, general secretary at the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling and Brean Wilkinson, product advisor of Rightlander, with Ismail Vali, consultant iGaming Leaders, moderating.
The conference takes place at Olympia London on September 17-20, alongside Betting on Sports – learn more and buy tickets for the CasinoBeats Summit here.
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