Susan O’Leary, Director of eCommerce for Alderney eGambling, on some of the pitfalls operators face when entering new markets and why a harmonious approach to regulation is the key to success
New and emerging markets are providing operators and suppliers with an exciting and lucrative opportunity to put their brands and products in front of more players than ever before. Continents such as Asia and Africa have the potential to become the largest iGaming markets in the world, while growth can still be found closer to home in Eastern and Western Europe with the likes of Germany, the Netherlands and even Sweden edging ever closer to a fully regulated market.
While operators and suppliers are being seduced by regions ready and waiting to embrace online gambling for the first time, they come with hidden pitfalls that need to be understood and cleared for iGaming businesses to survive and thrive. Some of the key things to consider include:
- A warm welcome: most new iGaming jurisdictions have gone to great lengths to protect established land-based operators, requiring new firms to enter a joint venture with retail casinos to offer their sites to players in the country. Other regulations may require them to establish a retail presence.
- Political power: it is critical to spend time understanding the political environment in which you plan to ply your trade.
- Exit strategy: unlike mature markets, new jurisdictions can be challenging when it comes to withdrawing money from the country. Banking systems can be complex, with different processes, timescales and cultures. It is vital, therefore, to have a clear exit strategy tailored to each individual market where you operate.
- Protection: while some new markets are yet to establish a regulatory framework, operators and suppliers should ensure they are licensed regardless. Not only does it help protect them from the above, but it gives them access to additional licensed partners, more banks and financial institutions while making sure they are operating at the highest possible standards.
With so many regions and jurisdictions looking to get in on the action, the argument for harmonious regulation is a strong one. The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has an open-door policy for regulators wanting to tap into their 16-plus years of experience in licensing online gambling businesses.
The AGCC can help them establish a robust yet flexible framework, while also handling the licensing process for operators and suppliers entering their market.
Working with new regulatory jurisdictions, the AGCC can assist in standardising regulations to ensure that instead of a patchwork of rules and requirements, a universal standard is achieved that benefits operators and regulators alike. This is far more effective and efficient than the status quo where operators and suppliers must adjust their businesses to suit each market.
New and emerging markets will be a major growth driver this year, but operators need to be mindful of jumping straight into the deep end without proper thought and consideration to the country in which they are making a splash. If done properly, the potential is huge. If combined with harmonious rules and requirements, the iGaming train will keep on rolling.