Michael Probert, head of business development at iSoftBet, on some of the challenges operators face as more markets open their doors to legal and regulated online gambling.
The global online casino industry continues to grow at a rapid and unstinting pace. This is being driven by new jurisdictions embracing regulation and licencing, and operators and suppliers understanding the need to comply with the rules laid out in each country.
This is throwing up huge potential in markets all over the world, from Europe to America via Africa and Asia. Indeed, as we look at the iGaming map of the world, we are seeing great swathes of white replacing the black and the grey that has prevented the sector from reaching its true potential in the past.
For countries and governments, regulation means a new, legitimate market and a way of generating additional tax revenues. For operators and suppliers, it means more business opportunities. And for players, it means they can access the games they love knowing they are safe, secure and protected.
While this is a major boon for the entire industry, it also presents a number of challenges that must be cleared. The most significant of which is the need for operators and suppliers to be fully compliant with the rules and regulations in each market they enter.
These requirements – which include KYC process, banking, security, player protection measures, RNG testing and restrictions on bonuses and promotions – can differ significantly and mean operators and suppliers must tweak their products and services to suit each.
This process is often time consuming and always expensive. It is also far more complex than many first imagine. Take translation, for example. Everything must be re-written in the native tongue of the market where the games will be launched. But it is not as simple as running text through an automated translation service.
In markets where gambling is new, it is often the case that betting terminology does not exist. It’s not just the big things, either. Operators and suppliers must understand the subtleties – differences in American English and British English, and Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, for example.
And this is just for translation. Banking, auditing, registration processes, complaints procedures, the testing and fairness of games – each country has slightly different requirements that operators and suppliers must adhere to if they want to ply their trade within its borders.
Here at iSoftBet, we have focused heavily on regulated markets, and the process we as a supplier must go through to ensure our games meet the requirements of each. Our game portfolio stands at 1,000+ strong, and each title is compliant with the five markets in which we operate – rising to nine by the end of the year.
To do this, we research the market fully before we enter. We also look at the market potential, both for us and our operator partners. Due to the work that goes into ensuring our entire portfolio is compliant with each market, we have to pick and choose the ones we enter based on which offer the most upsides.
In recent months, we have made our games available in Latvia and Estonia, with more markets in the pipeline for later this year. We have found that the more experienced we become in regulated markets, the easier and quicker it is for us to ensure our portfolio and back office is fully compliant.
This is why we encourage operators entering new markets to work alongside game developers and platform aggregators. We are among the most experienced at adapting to new market regulations, and ensuring our partners are up and running with a substantial game portfolio as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The next wave of new and emerging markets will allow the global online gambling industry to continue to plot its incredible course of upward growth. But operators and suppliers need to be ready for the challenges presented by each, and be able to become compliant quickly and efficiently.
Those that do will ride the wave and grow their businesses, while those that don’t risk falling behind the curve.