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 concluding part of CasinoBeats‘ latest two-part special, Ismail Vali, Founder & CEO of Yield Sec, and Tom Farrell, Chief Marketing Officer at ClearStake, continue the conversation.

CasinoBeats: Do you think the changes will go far enough to address the current societal and political mood?

Ismail Vali: Presently, we have a dim view of what we think the online gambling industry is in the UK, and this requires awareness and education across stakeholders and the public. There is not just one industry in the UK – there are two. We have done nothing as a society to seriously dent or deflect the interest of illegal operators in the UK market.

Our monitoring of the UK shows a growing black-market interest and tenancy in some of the most alarming areas, such as around children and the vulnerable. The GAMSTOP audience, in particular, is what we term a ‘vulnerability vacuum’.

If you’re going to sincerely support this community, along with others, that needs to come with monitoring, policing and enforcement which is what we can provide.

Tom Farrell: Yes, if implemented correctly. I’m a great believer in getting our arms around this challenge and building a sustainable industry that minimises harm (of course) but also maximises revenue. Part of that is working proactively to protect consumers – and the White Paper is a step in the right direction.

I don’t believe the industry can make financial checks go away, and I would question whether we should even if we could. Like any industry, it is vital that collectively we consider our reputation amongst both politicians and public.

On that basis, our aim should be to make these checks work – and make them as painless and transparent as possible for everyone involved. Do that, and we have a sustainable industry with a long-term, profitable future.  

CB: What lies ahead? How do you think the wider industry will adapt?

TF: I think ultimately both industry and consumers will accept the changes. I do believe that most understand the measures are there to protect players, not to stop them having fun. In fact I would go even further – they exist to enable them to have fun.

It’s worth remembering that the process today is broken. No wonder people dislike affordability checks when they are downloading and sending in bank statements before waiting days for a decision. Getting on top of this should make everyone’s lives a lot easier. 

Ultimately, we need to be proactive and get to a point that is defensible, logical and sensible. I think a place where it’s easy to get on if you can afford it, but where sensible limits are imposed on those who can’t – isn’t that what everyone wants? Like I said above: maximise revenues, minimise harm. That’s the secret to the long-term future of the industry

IV: Greater monitoring, policing and co-operation between all legal stakeholders: Government, regulator, operators, suppliers, affiliates, ad platforms, ISPs, banks, law enforcement.

Crime will fill the void and take primacy in any vacuum left by moves towards the vulnerable – just as with the current abuse of GAMSTOP-linked audiences and children.

Let’s stop asking about ‘the wider industry’ and instead talk loudly about the other industry – the illegal, unlicensed and criminal one. From Yield Sec monitoring of the UK marketplace, it has already filled the vulnerability vacuums around underage and GAMSTOP-linked audiences and will continue to leverage regulation exploitation opportunities as they arrive.

It’s not about whether the law and regulation are perfect – these things never are or can be – but Yield Sec is helping legal stakeholders to fight crime and fill the gaps that can and will lead to abuse by offshore illegal operators and their criminal associates if left unchecked.