Sam Barrett, Director of Gaming at Trustly, will chair SBC’s inaugural PaymentExpert Forum – A special event designed to provide payment professionals working for both operators and payment suppliers with a platform to discuss opportunities and threats as part of the future of the betting and gaming industry.
Facing increased regulatory scrutiny and a demand for higher standards, Barrett tells SBC readers that 2019 see numerous changes in betting and payments complex relationship
SBC: Sam, thanks for this interview. As a business leader, why have you chosen to Chair the PaymentExpert Forum? What will this executive event bring to the betting sector?
Sam Barrett (Director of Gaming – Trustly): It’s an absolute pleasure to be chairing the Payment Expert Forum. The SBC Group hosts some of the most influential events in the sports betting industry throughout the year and they are the best platforms for us to meet our key merchants and clients. However, I think the payments industry has been somewhat overlooked, and given the new regulations in place to ensure responsible gaming, it’s increasingly relevant. There’s truly no better time to bring together key decision makers to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the industry.
SBC: As a business discipline, how has the relationship between betting and payments evolved to form its current framework?
SB: The payments industry has evolved immensely over the past few years, especially following new regulations. As a result, payments have become a much more important factor in the long-term success and strategy of betting companies.
Increasingly, we are seeing payments providers supporting their customers with more than just payment functions and services. They are acting valuable partners, helping them enter new markets, overcome regulatory issues and facilitate international payments.
SBC: In 2019, betting operators face growing pressures to meet compliance demands throughout multiple jurisdictions. Do you worry that this will strain and complicate the relationship between operator and payment provider?
SB: Absolutely not. The payments providers are only helping operators to stay compliant. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen that payment methods, through PSD2 and Open Banking, can support operators in their KYC and AML requirements and help with two-factor authentication. By integrating support for these products into our payment flow, we actually help operators work more closely to satisfy the regulators.
If you look at the Swedish market, for example, every player needs to be authenticated. Since we are a bank payment method, two-factor authentication is intrinsic in our model and so we can actually help operators safely onboard players through our flow by complementing their KYC procedures. I think operators realize that our solution helps them from a regulatory and compliance perspective.
SBC: Meeting new consumer expectations, alongside regulatory demands/enforcements, how can betting operators and payment providers develop a better collaborative framework?
SB: Across the board, players have come to expect instant gratification when playing games. This means offering players a frictionless registration process and faster payouts. At Trustly, we’ve built our Pay N Play® product to do just that, while also supporting operators in staying compliant.
But of course, due to the fragmented nature of the European market, it’s important that operators understand the local market as well. Payments aren’t one-size-fits-all. If operators want a closer relationship with the player, they need to offer local solutions and keep up with innovation in other verticals like e-commerce and travel.
SBC: From your personal experience, what do you feel the betting industry misunderstands with regards to the payment sector?
SB: I think there’s a common notion that payments come at the end of the process and are seen as an obstacle to overcome. Operators invest large amounts of money on marketing spend to acquire new players, reactivate existing databases and, more importantly, retain existing players. By concentrating on the deposit and the speed of the payout, operators will see a much better return on investment due to increasing conversion numbers.
SBC: Finally moving forward, what new payment/transactional disciplines should betting stakeholders be paying attention to? What is in pipeline for payments and how will this impact the global betting sector?
SB: Open Banking is super interesting for the industry. Unfortunately, the outcome is still a bit unclear and there’s a lot of uncertainty around PSD2 for operators. What is clear, though, is that innovative businesses should continue to improve their current infrastructure.
As the industry is clamping down on responsible gambling and AML, it’s important that businesses concentrate on how to improve their infrastructure to make sure they can still stay relevant for players. Luckily there are methods that will help operators meet some of these new regulations and help them stay responsible without losing market share.
Sam Barrett – Director of Gaming @ Trustly