After several years of protracted delays and much speculation, the world’s largest gambling market has finally seen the publication of its latest and most significant review of gambling. What are the most salient points and was it everything that the industry expected?

In the first of CasinoBeats‘ latest two-part special, Ismail Vali, Founder & CEO of Yield Sec, and Tom Farrell, Chief Marketing Officer at ClearStake, delve into the issues at hand.

CasinoBeats: For your business, what are the most significant points that have been delivered?

Tom Farrell: I think most people will agree that the most significant thing that the white paper has delivered is clarity. Obviously for operators it’s fantastic to see explicit numbers around the levels at which various types of checks take place. I think I can safely speak for almost every compliance team in the UK when I say that the absence of those numbers was, to say the least, frustrating.

But it also gives clarity around the fact of enhanced due diligence checks (any check using real financial data). Ultimately the white paper backs the Gambling Commission. It confirms that such checks should take place, and that the GC has been right to expect and demand them in recent years. 

From our perspective, that obviously means we’re seeing our pipeline accelerate. It’s now pretty clear that affordability and AML checks based on real data aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time to figure out the best, most frictionless way possible to make them happen.

Ismail Vali: Yield Sec looks at all gambling activity in the marketplace – both legal and illegal – so for our legal stakeholder clients, the most important white paper deliveries in the UK will be the DCMS commitment to give the Gambling Commission statutory powers to deal with the black market.

It’s important to remember in this regard, that just finding and stopping one illegal website is never enough. For every illegal operator site Yield Sec finds, there are hundreds of mirrors that redirects to that same content and illicit commercial opportunity across dozens of new, unique destinations.

Fighting illegal operations is a constant task and one that we’re proud to be able to help legal stakeholders like the Gambling Commission, DCMS and the police with.

CB: Were there any surprises? 

IS: We don’t perceive any harbinger of doom in what is today the world’s most profitable online gambling marketplace. Changes were necessary and the white paper draws a sensible line between required change and committed consultation across areas, like advertising.

Given the length of time the white paper spent in gestation, there weren’t any particular surprises and I feel many in the industry were actually more concerned than they needed to be. Advertising measures and what may happen there are always fraught with concern and rightly so.

It’s one thing to suggest ‘gambling bans’ but when these are sure to be ineffective for the entire marketplace, it does not make sense to simply announce prohibition on advertising for legal, licensed stakeholders, whilst leaving the field open for illegal and criminal operators.

You have to monitor, police and enforce the entire marketplace, which includes two industries as Yield Sec clearly demonstrates in marketplace after marketplace: one legal and licensed, the other illicit and criminal.

TF: The levels for affordability checks were not a surprise. They look in line with what most operators were doing and what the Gambling Commission had previously expected. I don’t know if this qualifies as a surprise, but it was curious (a polite way of putting it) to see the suggestion that ‘enhanced’ checks on players losing more than £2,000 over three months will be able to be done in a ‘frictionless’ way.

I am pretty sure this isn’t possible today, and I would be extremely sceptical that it would ever be desirable (or acceptable). Either the data isn’t accurate, in which case it doesn’t solve the problem, or it is, which raises all sorts of questions about data privacy. I suspect this rather optimistic kite-flying exercise will turn out to be more of a lead balloon.