29 Sep 2020

Digital Ampersand Speakeasy: How will Covid-19 change the future of regulation around the world and across various channels and forms of gambling (land-based, lottery, online)?

Ewa Bakun


Ampersand Speakeasies


Finding a voice of influence

12 Ampersand members met again for the 2nd Ampersand speakeasy. Here are some of the key themes discussed.


What’s the long-term prospect for regulations? Is Covid an excuse, cover or the reason for the governments becoming more arbitrary in their decisions?

Although the industry was initially speculating that the economic devastation by the pandemic might push policy-makers to use further expansion of gaming to generate more revenue, we’re seeing, in most cases, a reverse reaction. Governments are continuing to impose restrictions and in some cases even closing entire markets, e.g. Portugal, where the Parliament recommended suspending online licenses in response to the decline in lottery.

US is seeing slightly different approach where there has been a clear push for further sports betting regulation and hopes are high for online gaming. But regulators and politicians are observing the advertising restrictions being imposed in Europe and the industry is feeling the pressure to act too. But this is not driven by the consumer pressure as it has been in Europe. Not yet.

Will those temporary measures, like ban on reverse withdrawals, impact future player behaviour long-term? And do governments have more of a mandate from consumers to introduce these restrictions now with so much focus on governments needing to ensure/enforce safety?

Politicians and regulators are making decisions not based on evidence or that are reasonable, e.g. deposit limits in Spain or iGaming regulations in Germany. They’re imposing the same measures on everyone and instead, as we have individualised marketing, there should also be an individualised approach to RG.

Industry needs to find a voice to reverse some negative perceptions and find its influence in being part of the decisions that affect it.


Opportunity to rethink – or are we being forced to it?

As discussed in the first Ampersand speakeasy, the recent few months have created a context, and an obligation, to think more about risk as part of the product - this is an opportunity for industry to be less secretive, but more openly communicate with customers.

The restrictions in capacities in physical facilities could drive change in further integration between land-based and virtual gaming.  Further merging of offline experiences with online, e.g. live games, gameshow games are likely to become more popular as offering more sociable experiences.

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