According to MarketsandResearch.com, the online gambling industry reached $81.08 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4%. However, behind the scenes, there’s a complex web of licensing and regulation that keeps the industry running smoothly and ensures a safe and fair experience for all.
Steven Welsh, Director of Governance for SolutionsHub, discusses importance of robust licensing frameworks, safeguarding players, and industry challenges and trends.
Why Licensing Matters in the Online Gambling Industry
Licensing is a crucial aspect of online gambling regulation, and its importance cannot be overstated.
Obtaining a license establishes legitimacy by demonstrating that an operator is committed to meeting strict regulatory standards, thus enhancing their credibility and trustworthiness.
Licensed operators are required to implement measures to safeguard players’ personal and financial information, promote responsible gambling practices, and random number generators (RNGs) require independent testing to ensure fair and unbiased outcomes for all players.
Furthermore, licensed operators must adhere to anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) regulations, helping to keep criminal activity at bay.
While the specific licensing process may vary across jurisdictions, most follow a similar set of steps.
First there is an application where operators must submit a detailed application to the relevant gambling authority, providing information on their business structure, ownership, and proposed gambling activities.
Authorities conduct thorough background checks on the applicants, scrutinising their financial history, criminal records, and any previous gambling licenses held.
Authorities will also assess the operator’s governance, fitness and propriety of the individuals owning and operating the business and assess the technical infrastructure, including their gaming software, RNGs, and security measures.
If the operator meets all the necessary criteria, the gambling authority will approve their application and issue a license.
However, this is only the first step and ongoing compliance, and monitoring is at the core of all licensed operators who must continue to meet regulatory standards and will be subject to regular audits and inspections by the relevant authority.
The Isle of Man: A Licensing Leader
The Isle of Man is renowned for its robust approach to online gambling licensing and ongoing monitoring.
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) enforces a strict set of licensing requirements, ensuring that only reputable operators can obtain a license.
While maintaining independence and strict adherence to the regulations and policies, the GSC is known for its proactive and approachable nature, fostering a collaborative relationship with operators.
Furthermore, the Isle of Man prioritises player safety, with licensed operators required to protect 100% of player funds and implement measures to promote responsible gambling and protect vulnerable individuals.
An Isle of Man gambling license is well-respected worldwide, reflecting the jurisdiction’s commitment to upholding high industry standards.
Challenges and Trends in Online Gambling Licensing
As the online gambling landscape continues to evolve, licensing authorities face new challenges and continuously adapt to emerging trends.
This takes the form of increased collaboration between licensing authorities across different jurisdictions to combat mutual threats such as match-fixing and money laundering.
Furthermore, licensing authorities stay up to date with technological advancements, ensuring that they can effectively assess and regulate new gambling platforms and innovations, while balancing innovation with regulation.
The delicate balance between fostering innovation in the online gambling sector and maintaining strict regulatory standards, ensures the industry can continue to grow and evolve in a safe and responsible manner.
Regulators will continue to remain agile and responsive to emerging trends, updating their licensing criteria as needed to address new challenges and opportunities.
By adapting to emerging trends such as cryptocurrencies and esports betting, and maintaining collaboration with other licensing authorities, regulators globally continue to apply pressure to illegal gambling operators who are poorly serviced by banking and payment providers and have fewer reasons to exist in the black-market.
Significance of Strong Licensing
A robust licensing framework not only establishes the legitimacy of operators and protects players, but also helps to maintain the overall integrity of the industry.
By promoting a transparent and straightforward licensing environment and staying abreast of industry developments, licensing authorities play a crucial role in ensuring that the online gambling sector continues to be a secure, fair, and enjoyable platform for everyone. In the end, it is maintaining the high standards that allow the online gambling industry to flourish as a reliable and engaging source of entertainment.