Gaming sector, unite! All for one and one for all

When it comes to the complex, business critical challenges of AML and Responsible Gambling, our Head of Gaming, Peter Murray’s view is that we are all in this together.

For those of us that work in or with the Gaming sector, the Gambling Commission’s Letter to Online Casino Operators last week could be a watershed moment.

In the letter, Sarah Harrison, CEO of the Gambling Commission, states “It is vital that the gambling industry takes its duty to protect consumers and keep crime out of gambling seriously”, as she outlines a tough stance on those that don’t comply.

Whilst it leaves the industry with some unanswered questions (i.e. who the companies involved are and what they have or have not done) one thing is unquestionable: We can’t say we weren’t warned. The messages emanating from Sarah Harrison and her team are loud and clear. Get your house in order or else. And I think the ‘or else’ will make itself clear imminently.

So if this has been coming for a while, have we, as an industry, taken it seriously? I would like to think, yes. Have we done enough? I think that is debatable.

When it comes to identity and KYC, my view is that we have all been far too reliant on traditional methods. Knowing an individual’s true identity is not a straightforward process; it is ultimately the result of combining data and technology intelligently. However, when it comes to knowing our customers in the Gaming sector the status quo has prevailed. We have taken refuge in solutions that are comfortable, reliable and robust.

Elsewhere the world is moving on and innovation and disruption are affecting every facet of our daily lives. But the process, datasets and technology used to understand customers have not really moved on in a decade. This has to change. The regulator thinks there is more the industry can do, and we agree.

At GBG we have worked alongside operators since the earliest days of electronic identity verification for KYC compliance. The question we must ask is whether this longstanding approach remains fit for purpose on its own? The challenges posed by upcoming regulations such as GDPR, PSD2, RG (Responsible Gaming) and SR (Social Responsibility), are too substantial for us to remain reliant upon the traditional methods. The industry must adapt and recognise that a longer term plan is needed.

Gaming businesses that are happy continuing with traditional KYC may be able to do so for a little while longer, but for those looking to have a sustainable business and a long term future, they will have to move out of the comfort zone, challenge themselves, their suppliers, their customers and even their regulators in order to do better.

In the words of the Gambling Commission, we all have to move further faster. I would add that as an industry, we must do it collaboratively. Trying to solve the conflicting aims of AML and GDPR is not going to be easy, so organisations traditionally viewed as competitors need to work together.

We have implemented workshops with industry stakeholders to look at how emerging data sources (we have over 400 different data sources and a global tech team) can be layered into the customer onboarding process and how this can be done using the latest technology to achieve as near real-time as possible. We have also worked to ensure all solutions are GDPR compliant. A lot of work has been done already, but there’s still lots to do.

Regulators also have a critical part to play. They may embrace the new technology for the benefit of everyone, but the ball is in our court to show them what the capabilities are. If we are genuinely putting customers at the heart of what we do as we should, we must do it together.

All for one and one for all must be the rallying cry.

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