FEATURE

FEATURE

What does 2020 have in store for the igaming industry?

2019 saw the rapid expansion of sports betting across the US, but also a number of regulatory and advertising clampdowns in Europe. As the new decade gets underway, industry experts share their thoughts on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. By Joanne Christie

OPERATORS AND SUPPLIERS

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

JOE SAUMAREZ SMITH: The opening up of the US sports market will be what 2019 is remembered for. But the regulatory pain for operators in the UK and Sweden is just as important as I suspect that many other countries will follow their lead.

MARTIN LYCKA: In my view, 2019 was marked by three key regulatory developments: the industry’s victory in the US Wire Act-related litigation, the entry into force of the new FOBT rules in the UK and finally the relaunch of the regulatory process in Germany.

KRISTIAN NYLEN: One of the year’s biggest stories has, of course, been the growth of the US sports betting market, with a now substantial number of states either live with regulated sports betting or nearing the finishing line.

QUENTIN MARTIN: Other than the Conservative landslide in the UK election, either the UK requiring full age verification before a bet can be placed or Sweden not allowing betting markets where you can’t prove that 51% of participants are 18-plus. Either way, significant regulatory changes were the defining moments of 2019. Also, the 2019 League of Legends Championship peaked at 44 million concurrent viewers, with 21.8 million viewers on average per minute.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

JSS: States have legislated on US sports betting far faster than I thought they would and I think we will see the US sports market grow impressively in 2020, especially as consumer awareness spreads. On regulation, I think operators will continue to find the regulatory environment extremely challenging. The shift away from VIP-led operators to a mass-market operation is not an easy one to make and those who chase short-term profits are likely to find themselves at risk of losing their licence.

ML: Without doubt, more and more US states will regulate their igaming space this year. The UK’s Gambling Commission will continue its RGrelated and other regulatory efforts, and the German states are expected to issue a final version of the post- July 2021 regulation.

KN: We will continue to see more US states opening up as more legislators see what is being achieved in markets such as Philadelphia and New Jersey. What’s imperative is that this continued spread of sports betting is achieved under a continued spread of sports betting is achieved under a framework of sensible regulation. The significance of provisions for mobile alongside land-based regulation cannot be overstated if operators are to maximise channelisation away from the illegal market into the regulated environment.

QM: I believe regulatory changes will continue to be rolled out across all licences, placing even more importance on compliance teams. One huge negative side effect is that these create even larger barriers to entry for new market entrants, as to acquire a licence and build a fully compliant tech stack becomes prohibitive. This may cause an increase in illegal operators if the regulators are not careful, which harms everyone. Esports will start to become the largest user acquisition channel for Generations X, Y and Z.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

JSS: I think I have probably given the same answer for the last three years and I probably will for the next three: regulation and public perception. The industry is either under the cosh in regulated markets (especially the UK and Sweden) or is about to be hit by tough regulation (Germany and Netherlands are the most obvious, but plenty of other regulators are looking to turn the screw). The industry is partly paying the price for previous misdemeanours but also has lost control of the messaging, meaning that the anti-gambling campaigners are getting a greater share of voice than ever before.

ML: As has been the case in the last number of years, absorption of all the regulatory changes. I, however, firmly believe that the industry is ready to do it.

KN: Responsible gambling quite rightly continues to be a focus and we must all recognise that only by protecting players can we ensure a sustainable industry. Also, as regulation continues to spread, some operators utilising legacy or unproven tech stacks will likely struggle to scale into new markets. Flexible technology capable of rapidly adapting to regulatory requirements will be needed if they are to make the most of these forthcoming opportunities.

QM: I think the US will regulate more slowly and not as easily as many people are hoping for, particularly the key states. More regulators will follow the UK’s example, which will result in more industry consolidation. For esports betting, finding the right product/market fit and profitable user acquisition channels for esports bettors will be key. This will be far easier for endemic esportsbooks than traditional sportsbooks.

FINANCE

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

SIMON HOLLIDAY: The pace of development of the US sports betting sector as companies jockey for position to take advantage of it. The number of live sports betting states reached 16 by the end of 2019, with total gross win increasing from $450m to about $985m. The online channel is set to account for 42% of gross win and is expected to be as high as 55% of the $13bn handle.

PAUL LEYLAND: The biggest single shift in our view is the reducing tolerance of visible online gambling in Europe and parts of Asia. This is partly a political backlash but it is also cultural – and it is the cultural element that should be most concerning to the sector.

JULIAN BUHAGIAR: The rise of regulatory fines across the European landscape in 2019, particularly the Nordics, has depressed asset values and investor sentiment, thereby placing these territories in a state of limbo, at least from an investment/speculative perspective. But by far the most impactful events of the year were the type (and audacity) of mergers and acquisitions across the landscape, the likes of Flutter/Stars and more recently DraftKings/SBTech. The latter is set to be the most disruptive, with a new class of acquiring party (SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company) set to lead the trend for the next decade.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

SH: The potential DraftKings float will put the spotlight on sports betting. As long as the US election doesn’t slow things down, there could be 10-12 more sports betting states by the end of 2020, generating handle as high as $25bn and gross win of $2bn. Confidence also seems to be growing that more states will legalise igaming. With Michigan and West Virginia both expected to launch in Q1, igaming gross win could reach $750m this year.

PL: We are likely to see the reducing tolerance continuing to drive more restrictive legislation around advertising, product (including links to sport) and responsible gambling in a great swathe of jurisdictions, arguably except the US (for now). Also, jurisdictions will be looking to stamp out ‘illegal’ gambling much more effectively.

JB: A SPAC-derived acquisition has the potential to change the entire landscape for the gaming industry, as has been the case with pharmaceuticals and fast-moving consumer goods. Properly done, a SPAC will effectively unlock a large class of US private equity that hitherto had not even looked at gaming, to spurn bigger and bolder buyouts or even reverse mergers. Expect bigger and bolder brands to be bought or taken over, and on the flip side, delisting of some well-known operators with view to an (even bigger) private sale further on.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

SH: Across much of the more mature European markets, the proactive development of an innovative argument to counter the anti-gambling lobby’s efforts to define any problem gambling as a public health debate. The sector continuing the process of consolidation while still remaining nimble enough to take advantage of the areas of growth such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.

PL: The biggest challenge is to find a critical mass of public support to have a chance to operate in a relatively liberal commercial environment; the zeitgeist is very much protecting the vulnerable over freedom of choice – gambling is caught up in this more than virtually any other sector.

JB: We will shortly be dealing with the kind of regulatory pressure the likes of which we have only really witnessed in antitrust takeovers (GVC, Ladbrokes, Gala et al). If SPACs really take off, their buying/merging power will unlock new legislative challenges from governing bodies that will take months, or even years, to effectively clear. Our first exposure to this will be happening this year across Flutter/Stars and DraftKings/SBTech.

MARKETING

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

MARTIN CALVERT: The ups and downs of market regulation have been front of my mind – it hasn’t been an unambiguously fantastic year for most operators and affiliates. Sometimes it has felt like two steps forward, one step back, with more states opening up in the USA while other markets are becoming more restrictive or ambiguous. Though there are plenty of new opportunities, it’s clear that planning and hard work is more important than ever, but not every brand is prepared for this. NICK GARNER: The rising power of governmental gambling regulators and their aggressive stance with the gambling industry.

SARAH MACDONALD: In the UK, the introduction of the ‘whistle to whistle’ ban on sports betting advertising during live sports coverage (pre-watershed) was a pivotal moment. The industry took a big self-regulatory step in response to increasing media and political pressure to lessen the strong ties between gambling and sport. To some this appeared to be a bold move, yet the direction of travel elsewhere helps to put it into context: at the start of the year in Italy, the extent of the advertising ban there was fully realised. AGCOM clarified the Dignity Decree’s application to sponsorship activity and that it prohibited even indirect forms of advertising. We then saw the regulator issue its first fine for a breach of the Decree as the year came to a close.

PHIL BLACKWELL: For me, the most consequential development was the rise in remote gaming duty to 21%. The effects of this have been widespread and noticeable, particularly for the affiliate side of our business. We’ve seen brands pull out of the UK market completely, further acquisition and consolidation of white label operators and a significant reining in of more generous (and restrictive) welcome offers.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

MC: I think we’ll see some surprising (comparative) losers and intriguing winners in 2020. We work across the entire gaming industry, in 71 languages, and I can report that a variety of brands are making intelligently aggressive plans. Those with a clear view of the regulatory opportunities and challenges will pick their battles and learn from the mistakes of larger operators. Some familiar names will continue to overspend and under-optimise – this will be evident during Euro 2020.

NG: Increasingly aggressive regulatory behaviour will be implicitly and/or explicitly supported by governments looking for greater tax take. Governments don’t lose votes by being tough on gambling. However, there comes a point where regulation will strangle the goose laying those golden eggs; then we will see regulation easing off. However, I don’t see that happening for at least three or four years.

SM: While the situation in Italy might be unique, many countries are undergoing periods of political change, as well as raising their awareness of gambling-related harms. This only moves gambling advertising into sharper focus – every country will face the pressure of government/regulatory intervention, it will just be on a sliding scale between an outright ban on marketing communications or some lesser limitation.

PB: I have no doubt that 2020 will see even more consolidation, with the white label networks running on the tightest margins most at risk of being priced out by the larger competition. Not only will the shockwave of the RGD increase continue to reverberate, but the crackdown – and subsequent panic – around compliance could lead to an even more risk-averse market.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

MC: The biggest challenges will be around controlling acquisition costs in consolidating markets, while also investing enough in new markets to take advantage of the opportunity. The most disciplined operators and affiliates will continue to invest in digital strategy, competitor analysis and benefit from practical growth plans. NG: Finding a sustainable balance between maximum tax take and governments not losing votes. The ultimate winners will be a small group of mega brands. For everyone else, their challenge is to diversify and accept that the good times are over.

SM: The industry is going to have to be bigger and bolder in its attempts to self-regulate if it wants its advertising activity to stay on the right side of the line; for some countries, like Spain, it’s likely already too late. The biggest challenge for the sector, in terms of its advertising, will be whether its changes can be bold enough to stave off punitive official measures but not so bold as to strangle the business.

PB: Undoubtedly compliance, with a ban on credit card deposits, further conversations around online stake limits and the potential regulation of VIP programmes. However, it’s the industry’s response to these that is perhaps the most difficult hurdle to overcome. The media is out to get us and with good reason. The public’s perception of gambling – which is an increasingly lamented social taboo – will be shaped not only by the press, but the responsible (or irresponsible) actions of the industry’s stakeholders.

PEOPLE

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

ANDREW BULLOSS: From a senior talent perspective there was a definite shift towards the US and Central Europe having the greatest hiring needs in 2019. The reason for the former is obvious (although that still doesn’t make it any easier for talented people to get a working visa); the latter was driven by the opening of newly regulated markets and by private equity firms buying gaming assets and adding sophisticated leaders to their newly acquired businesses.

ALASTAIR CLELAND: The skills shortage in igaming continues to cause pain for our industry, limiting both business growth and product innovation. As fast as new commercial opportunities are developing globally, demand for talent is increasing.

ELLEN MONAGHAN: The growth of the US sports betting market was the defining development for the industry and the one that had the biggest impact on the growth of our business. We established our new US headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, recruited a new class of leaders to spearhead our US expansion and filled a variety of new roles.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

AB: Interestingly, the demand for non-gaming talent in senior roles is greater than ever. Gaming suppliers and operators realise that in order to compete more effectively in saturated markets, great product, great customer experience and increased personalisation need to be at the forefront of their strategy. Talent from outside the sector brings fresh ideas and tends to prioritise customer protection. Increased pressure on our industry will continue – those businesses with a customer-first mentality will win out long-term and will be magnets for the best talent from inside and outside of sector.

AC: In 2020, talent attraction and retention will feature highly on ambitious companies’ core strategies. Candidates who once included on their ‘wish lists’ features such as remote working, generous bonuses and perks like travel allowances increasingly see these as expectations – the new normal. Ultimately, in a talent-light market, candidates’ expectations will increasingly need to be met, and this will likely include further increases in salary following the 8.5% industry-wide rise in 2019.

EM: As more states pass legislation, regulation is put into place and operators and affiliates go live, the American market will certainly continue to dominate all aspects of the growth areas for the igaming space in 2020.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

AB: The operators and suppliers that still sail close to the wind on regulation need to shape up. The industry should be able to say with a common voice that there is an unwavering commitment to protecting vulnerable customers but equally that these customers should be given the choice to use this form of entertainment as and when they want it.

AC: Overall, our sector must continue to prioritise recruitment strategy and invest in attracting world-class talent to the online gaming industry. With ever-increasing competition for skilled professionals, this challenge is likely to become significantly harder, and is one we all need to invest in overcoming. In the US, the booming sports betting market will require huge recruitment activity to fuel the ongoing growth. With limited potential for talent attraction outside the US, it will require a homegrown approach that includes cross-industry hiring and significant training and development of hires with no industry experience.

EM: While the American market is overflowing with potential, recruiting top talent in what is essentially a new market will be one challenge for 2020. While we’ve been impressed with the level of excitement we are finding in recruiting for the American market, we do not underestimate the demand for talent across a new growing industry.

TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

VIGNE KOZACEK: Both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games took a significant technological leap forward in 2019, with virtual casinos growing significantly in popularity and complexity as developers focused more on the player experience. The ability for players to interact with both the casinos and other players by either voice or chat messaging proved to be increasingly popular. Continued growth in the esports sector cannot be ignored either as this vertical saw the introduction of new competitions and year-on-year revenue growth.

RUSSELL KARP: It was a big year for the growing relationships between professional sports leagues and operators. The NFL finally joined the ranks by signing three deals: with Sportradar for data, with DraftKings for daily fantasy, and with MGM as a casino partner. Meanwhile, the NBA, which was the first league to sign a partnership with an operator (MGM), increased its footprint by signing deals with FanDuel and Fox Bet. Not to be left out, the NHL soon followed suit and provided William Hill their first partnership with a professional sports league.

WILL MACE: From a technology perspective, a hugely significant event of 2019 was Apple rewriting or perhaps just choosing to enforce old App Store rules, which served to remind everyone how vulnerable we are, without control or even influence over a major distribution channel. Perhaps the most interesting technology event, however, was the emergence of Pluribus, a poker-playing AI programme. In a series of experiments against some of the top-rated professionals in the world, it achieved a ‘superhuman’ level of performance at multiplayer no-limit Texas hold’em. The jump from head-to-head to multiplayer was a hugely significant step.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

VK: As the technology for both VR and AR continues to exponentially improve, game developers are going to have to continue to expand their offering by developing more immersive and engaging game offerings, including, but not limited to, expanding their real-time multiplayer games beyond the current most popular casino games. I also expect to see more VR/AR games emerging across the casino floor in land-based casinos in order to maintain its appeal to the next generation of punters.

RK: This year we will see a growing number of companies from various industries entering the world of sports gambling and seeking their piece of the revenue pie. The rapidly expanding sports gambling market will require a forward-thinking approach and adoption of new emerging technologies serving the industry. In 2020, we expect that leaders will increase their investments in IT and strengthen partnerships with technology consultancies to increase scalability in order to keep up with expected growth.

WM: How Pluribus will change or influence how humans play poker may become better understood this year – it certainly won’t be ignored by any pro worth their chips. Rather aptly I’m writing this from CES, the world’s largest technology show, where I am surrounded by flying cars, ping pong-playing robots, folding and rolling screens, swarms of drones and even Alexa-enabled lavatories. CES provides a glimpse into the future of consumer technology and also into tech that could influence the gambling industry over the next year.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

VK: Keeping with the theme of VR/AR games, I expect one of the biggest challenges in 2020 to lie with game developers being able to reduce their development life cycle significantly enough to release high quality games to market more efficiently than the current rates, as well as improving the time to production for operators to remain competitive.

RK: On a large scale, to offer the most effective solutions, companies will face some technical challenges. A betting platform with a properly planned UX/UI strategy and well-designed user engagement features (be it real-time gaming video streaming, personalised content recommendations or helpful insights) will have better customer engagement and retention rates, leading to it building a strong brand.

WM: Rapidly evolving regulation will, of course, continue to dominate the landscape – but the particularly interesting technological components of that evolution in 2020 may well relate to digital identity and data-sharing to better protect problem gamblers. In addition, 5G may well start to come close to the mainstream, further changing performance expectations and providing real challenges to those operators still operating from single data centres on small islands many miles from their customers.

REGULATORY

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

JASON CHESS: The major event of 2019 was the Gambling Commission’s statement (in its Enforcement Report 2018/19) that most of the British public have a maximum of £499 monthly disposable (or “discretionary”) income and that this amount should be logged by operators as a “benchmark” for the possibility of “gambling-related harm”. The principle that operators should be held liable for how much of a person’s freely disposable income they choose to spend in any given manner finally consigns to the grave the libertarian Blairite approach to gambling.

DAVID CLIFTON: From a regulatory viewpoint, the good news from 2019 was watching major operators within the UK industry finally and convincingly demonstrate that they are absorbing safer gambling principles into the heart of their business models. There is still a long way to go though, plus a legislative review, and life is not going to get easier for a long while yet. Stateside is where the major excitement has been taking place from a sports betting perspective. Long may that continue and I remain hopeful they will avoid similar regulatory problems to those encountered on this side of the Atlantic in recent times.

YAHAYA MAIKORI: Across Africa there have been some disruptive developments – the tax imbroglio in Kenya and the propriety rights claim by Western Lotto against the remaining lottery operators in Nigeria are most noteworthy. In the Nigerian case, Western Lotto Nigeria Limited, a recently licensed operator, sought a court order stopping other operators from running Ghana Games in Nigeria based on its alleged exclusive licence agreement with LMC VAS Ghana, owner of Ghana Games. If Western Lotto has such rights, then it is a great strategic move given that Ghana Games dominates the Nigerian market and has been played since time immemorial. In Kenya the 20% betting tax has upturned the market, leading to the withdrawal of its biggest operators, SportPesa and Betin.

MARK BALESTRA: In the US, the year’s defining event – the Supreme Court ruling striking down PASPA – actually took place in 2018. While it was big news when it happened, its impact was felt throughout 2019, during which the number of states with legalised sports betting climbed. Opinions vary on the potential impact of the DoJ’s opinion letter issued in late 2018 extending the Wire Act’s reach beyond sports betting, but it is notable that the expansion of legalised online casino and/or poker appears to be stalling.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

JC: The regulator, under assault from the press and – let me be fair – encouraged by far too many historic industry own goals, is in clear peril of reverting to the traditional British approach to gambling, which is that it is a moral vice needing to be controlled, particularly in relation to the poor.

DC: Let’s place our trust in the GC to carry the flag for the UK industry to ward off the doom-mongers and naysayers who forecast staking limits, advertising bans and yet more red tape strangling the life and innovation out of the sector. Let’s be optimistic too – surely 2020 might be the year for Germany and the Netherlands to finally launch their igaming space race.

YM: The Nigerian case has opened up a new vista in the gaming industry; I doubt that the shallow legal framework can adequately resolve this matter beyond the country’s intellectual property rights laws. It’s a clear argument between rights ownership and anti-competitive strategies, which won’t be resolved easily. With the Kenyan tax matter, I think that the industry will remain in limbo unless the regulator evolves other strategies to address their concerns, which centre on the dominance of foreign ownership and the prevalence of gambling addiction.

MB: It is possible that by the end of 2020, more than half of the states will have legalised sports betting. Conflicting Wire Act opinions may continue to hamper the growth of igaming. The federal ruling setting aside the DoJ opinion as it applies to the New Hampshire Lottery has exposed the volatility of the DOJ’s position, but it is a lower court decision that the DoJ interprets as narrowly applicable. The department’s forthcoming actions (or lack thereof) after its self-imposed grace period on enforcing the opinion comes to an end could indicate how things will unfold.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

JC: 2020 will see further demands for stake limits as well as restrictions on VIP and loyalty programmes. Dangerously, a viscerally moralistic and hostile press is beginning to develop an understanding of the industry, something that will allow the journalists to skate around in silence the massive improvements in customer care that have been made and isolate points that offer scope for further attack.

DC: I hate to say it, but the biggest challenge may just be how on earth we avoid more of the same for yet another year.

YM: In 2020, as the industry further deepens, poor regulation will continue to throw up disruptive challenges.

MB: The Adelson-backed opposition to interactive gambling will continue to influence policy. While a new federal prohibition is doubtful, the Adelson initiative could have a negative effect on expansion to new jurisdictions. In areas of growth – namely sports betting – states have a tendency to overshoot on revenue expectations, and the backlash of the inevitable underperformance could negatively impact expansion to new states.

RESPONSIBLE GAMING

WHAT WERE THE DEFINING DEVELOPMENTS OR EVENTS OF 2019?

LAURA DA SILVA: The political uncertainty in the UK and the increase in political, media and public scrutiny on the industry were the main developments of the year. On a positive note, the change in the tone of the conversations I had last year was most encouraging. These were less “Why should we care about responsible gaming?”, “It’s the Commission’s role to ensure the industry behave, why should we do more than asked?” and more “What can I do at my level to improve the positive impact?” or “I’m ashamed of my company, if things don’t change soon, I’m going to leave”.

KEITH WHYTE: In the US the defining development was the massive explosion of sports betting, including online and mobile offerings. At the close of 2019, 20 states had authorised sports betting – the largest and fastest expansion of gambling in our history. Yet only half of these states included significant responsible gambling provisions or additional funding to prevent and treat gambling addiction. As a result, the rate and severity of gambling problems is likely to increase.

MATT ZARB-COUSIN: The defining development of 2019 was the implementation of the £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals, as it signified the UK government’s shift towards acknowledging the impact of products on gambling harm.

HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONTINUING TO SHAPE THE IGAMING SPACE IN 2020?

LDS: 2020 is the time for more CEOs to be creative enough to figure out how to grow by having a positive impact rather than merely offsetting some of the risks of irresponsible and unethical business dealings and PRing the hell out of it.

KW: Getting legislation and regulation right in the new states is the fight that will shape the igaming sector as up to 20 more states are poised to consider sports betting and online gambling bills.

MZC: The FOBT move has opened the door to similar regulation of online. It’s imperative that the remote gambling sector learns from the mistakes of the land-based bookmakers and introduces measures to reduce harm and the profits derived from those experiencing it.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR THE SECTOR IN 2020?

LDS: Understanding that the responsibilities of the industry (and any industry for that matter) go beyond managing its own impact on society and the industry. It is going to be more about how each organisation contributes to shape a more positive environment through its operations.

KW: The biggest challenge facing the US igaming sector will be to fully embrace responsible gambling as a core goal, which requires significant additional investment in the US. Most Americans have little access to problem gambling services, particularly in the 20% of US states with no public funding for problem gambling. Gambling companies end up having to fill the gaps in conjunction with NGOs like NCPG. If they don’t, the extremely rapid growth, coupled with weak responsible gambling requirements and poor public funding for prevention of gambling problems, is a recipe for the same type of backlash many operators and vendors are facing in the UK.

MZC: With a review of the Gambling Act on the horizon in the UK, if the industry fails to make remote gambling safer it will leave the government with no choice but to opt for heavy restrictions on remote gambling content and limits similar to the kind applied to FOBTs.