Posted on: May 22, 2023, 07:02h.
Last updated on: May 22, 2023, 07:03h.
Last week, gaming representatives from Portugal and 10 countries in Latin American met at the Ibero-American Gaming Summit (IAGS) in Panama City, Panama, to discuss, among other things, how to create a unified gaming market. They all left with a clearer understanding of the goals, as well as an established plan to broaden legislative interest toward gambling.
With the motto “A future of opportunities,” the summit became a mechanism to publicize the gaming industry’s challenges in recovering from COVID-19. It was also an opportunity to explore what the future holds.
During the 2-day gathering on May 16-17, the representatives, affiliated with gaming regulators in their respective countries, called for tougher regulations to combat illegal gambling. A memorandum of understanding created during the summit to unify that goal has the support of all participants – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru, Panama and Portugal.
Among the topics agreed upon are those of the banking and financial sector in general. The representatives suggested that the jurisdictions that have not yet issued regulations for online gambling should do so, as long as the banking sector agrees with them.
They also agreed that it is necessary to open dialogue with the banking sector to help it overcome the existing stigmatization of the gaming industry. In many locations, partly due to misleading PR campaigns by gambling prohibitionists, games of chance present drawbacks in both state and private banks.
The IAGS, which was sponsored by Cirsa, Entain and other gaming operators, revealed that gaming regulators believe the problem starts with banks’ interactions with operators. Many are unwilling to authorize the opening of bank accounts for gaming companies, forcing some to seek alternative methods of handling financial transactions. This resistance is partly what caused Bermuda’s casino plans to at least temporarily implode.
To overcome some of the obstacles and increase confidence, the summit participants have started working on a solution. They’re putting together an action plan to educate the banks about the scope of the industry’s processes and protocols and will maintain open communication with them going forward.
As a suggestion, the IAGS participants recommend using diplomatic channels for communications between the regulators of the different regional gaming regulators. They believe this will add a layer of legitimacy to the conversation.
Online Gaming And Betting A Focal Point
The regulators also explored the rise in online casinos and sports betting. Since before 2020, this segment constituted the natural future of the evolutionary process of the gaming industry; however, after the COVID-19 pandemic, online games expanded rapidly in both the present and immediate future of the gaming sector.
Faced with this new twist, the IAGS recommends that correct control will allow the jurisdictions to offer confidence to the public and, in the same way, to the banking entities. They clarified that in none of the experiences of the individual markets that have regulated online gambling has there been a decrease in retail gaming and betting revenue.
Focus On Responsible Gambling
As with all discussions of gambling, the IAGS members also explored responsible gambling. Adequate regulation of games of chance and online betting, as well as an attractive content library of games, constitutes the barrier that jurisdictions require to stop illegal gambling.
The representatives also walked away with the understanding that it’s important for countries to include compulsive gambling prevention actions in their state policies. This will protect consumers and also allow the gaming industry to be perceived as a socially responsible sector.
The regulators maintain that this state policy cannot only include gaming jurisdictions, but rather an inter-institutional coordinated effort. Gaming, health and other sectors have to come together to provide guidance and comprehensive treatment to people suffering from compulsive gambling.
The summit was beneficial in creating a unified front for helping the LatAm gaming industry evolve. However, if the plans can’t be put into action, which depends mostly on resistance at home, the maturation of the industry will be impeded.
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