Suren Azatyan offers his view on the iGaming and its development:
Do you remember the old good days, when having a single license, one could easily operate in most of the countries around the world? Those times are over. With the recent developments in the iGaming market, more countries continue to regulate online gambling with their own licenses, and/or special certifications on top of a reputable iGaming regulation body, such as Alderney, UKGC, MGA and more.
When entering a certain regulated market, companies will face a number of tasks to navigate to be able to comply to the needs set by the regulating body of the market.
To that end, I would like to take this opportunity to start a small series of articles to outline the advantages and disadvantages of regulated markets, with the final goal of making them a less daunting prospect than they may seem on the outside.
In this series of articles, I shall tend to take a generalized approach in order to not take any side. I shall be covering some of these topics in more detail at a later date.
First of all, to understand what regulation in general means, we’ll have a brief intro.
There are diverse forms of online gambling offered to the public, including; casino games, sports-betting, bingo, lottery, etc. Regulation means that all these channels will be available only if the operator has the necessary licenses to offer them. These licences are issued by the appropriate body, generally referred to as a ‘Regulator’. Some regulated markets offer licenses granted by special commissions together with a local authority.
An operator operating in a regulated market will then need to have that license/certificate on their website, while showcasing the regulator, license number, title of the company the license is granted to, and more relevant information, to prove that they have attained a licence that allows them to conduct business in certain territories.
Regulated markets (usually) have strict rules that cover several facets of running an online gaming operation, including; Responsible advertising, Responsible gambling, Player protection, Complaints, and more.
There might be different opinions about the advantages of regulated gambling markets, however, we shall try to list the major and most important ones.
Regulation/Licensing assures only the best operators are available
Before proper regulation was in place, players had faced many operators, with rather dubious reputations and uncertainty about the safety of their personal and financial information. With the help of the regulators, ongoing checks and much stricter requirements in order to operate, the governments have helped to block untrustworthy operators operating in their market, allowing only approved operators to function, with a license granted by a trustworthy body.
This might be considered one of the best ways to ensure proper protection for the players, but is not fool proof.
Strict identification / KYC checks
Online gambling offers extensive variety of games and services. Most of the time, an online casino offers significantly larger selection of games and entertainment, compared to a similar physical casino. However, when it comes to player identification checks – online casinos used to fail, causing fraudulent activities affecting both sides players and casinos.
With a regulator body in place, these checks will be much stricter and following set guidelines, looking to eradicate fraudulent activities towards the players and vice versa. Thanks to the latest technology developments, online casinos operating in regulated markets tend to be increasingly effective, compared to their physical “brothers”.
This topic might be the major concern for millions of players around the world. Players always look for reliability and speed when getting paid. Facing an untrustworthy online operator will cause delays, sometimes failures for the players getting paid out at all after a large win at a dubious operator.
There are specific forums and websites where players share their opinions and use-cases about thousands of online casinos, their experiences with pay-outs here and there. Non-regulated markets are not able to offer a proper support to players in this regard, or often take advantage of their status to avoid paying out.
Unlike non-regulated markets, regulated markets offer cleaner, safer laws, ensuring smoother pay-outs for clients, as inaction or dubious behaviour will be punished. These laws, combined with modern identification mechanisms bring pay-out reliability and speed to completely new levels in regulated markets.
Stricter responsible gambling
Gambling addiction is a constant consideration of the regulators. It’s seen as one of the key reasons these bodies as people of different locations, social statuses and preferences suffer from gambling addiction.
iGaming legalisation usually ensures that there are tools like support or self-restrictions in place for all those players, who feel they are at risk.
One of the major benefits a regulated market is that some regulators can monitor a player’s tendencies, thus helping to identify any relative problem at an earlier stage and advise accordingly (even forcing customers to close accounts should their gambling patterns be deemed ‘self harming’).
Less competition, more valuable revenue
Last but not least, operators in regulated markets generate more valuable revenue for local governments and are often used to improve social infrastructure.
This is very simple, yet very smart. Only approved operators with licenses are allowed to operate, meaning less competition for the approved ones, meaning more market share and logically more revenue.
I am pretty sure that this article might raise number of questions related but not limited to; problem of non-licensed operators appearing in regulated markets, taxation problems of the regulated markets, control over the revenues and more.
I shall try to cover major topics in the next article, trying to talk about disadvantages and problems of the regulated markets.