Ben Haden: “IAGR 2023 will be a space for honest and challenging debates”

IAGR vice president Ben Haden.
IAGR vice president Ben Haden.

IAGR vice president Ben Haden talked about the upcoming IAGR 2023, which will explore the future of gaming regulation.

Exclusive interview.- In an exclusive interview with Focus Gaming News, IAGR vice president Ben Haden discussed the 2023 conference, which will focus on fostering fresh thinking, sharing innovative ideas, and covering the full spectrum of regulatory issues within the gambling and gaming sector.

What are the main expectations for this year’s conference?

This year’s conference is all about fostering fresh thinking, sharing innovative ideas, and covering the full spectrum of regulatory issues within the gambling and gaming sector.

We aim to create a vibrant platform where attendees can engage in innovative discussions, explore new regulatory landscapes, and network with global experts.

The focus on fresh thinking aligns with IAGR’s mission to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of gaming regulation, making this conference a must-attend event for industry professionals. As the only single-focus gambling regulatory conference on the calendar, we can guarantee the widest range of colleagues interested in and facing the same challenges

What were your considerations when drawing up the program?

The program was carefully crafted with a focus on a breadth of topics, addressing the challenges of both today and tomorrow and ensuring a diversity of speakers.

We wanted to stimulate thinking about the future of gaming regulation and offer insights from various perspectives.

“The program was carefully crafted with a focus on a breadth of topics, addressing the challenges of both today and tomorrow and ensuring a diversity of speakers.”

IAGR vice president Ben Haden.

In the preview of last year’s edition you said that you were “hoping that people will come to IAGR and hear difficult questions debated”. Do you expect the same this year?

Absolutely, yes. We believe in the importance of hearing from all parts of the sector – operators, suppliers as well as regulators. It’s important we also hear from outside our sector to ensure we don’t narrow our thinking. It’s crucial to understand both successes and failures, and we encourage open and honest debates on difficult questions to foster growth and improvement.

This aligns with IAGR’s mission to provide members with the support they need when they need it. The conference will be a space for honest and challenging debates, fostering growth and improvement within the industry.

What importance do you give to the collaboration that arises between regulators from different countries who face different realities and different ways of solving their problems?

Collaboration is more important than ever, especially since gambling operators and player behaviour within the supply chain ecosystem is often consistent worldwide.

This global perspective is why people keep coming to our conference year after year. It’s a premium space for understanding and addressing common challenges across different jurisdictions.

We may all have taken different pathways in the development of our regulation, but the core challenges are the same.

One of the first confirmed talks is about AI. How do you think this technological advance is impacting the industry?

This is a great example of a topic every sector is coming to terms with and is super relevant to the gambling industry from how it keeps players safe to how it generates successful commercial offerings. Clearly, it is already being used by the industry, and the challenge for regulators is to understand its nature and implications – where we might need to step in and where not.

The session will explore different interpretations of AI and how it impacts risk and compliance. This aligns with our commitment to providing leading thinking for members.

This year the conference will be held in Botswana and there will be talks dedicated to the reality of the industry in Africa. What do you think can be the contribution made to improve the situation throughout the continent?

Knowledge sharing is vital, and our African colleagues can help others rethink challenges through their unique experiences. The conference will facilitate these conversations, aligning with IAGR’s focus on engaging, learning, and networking. It’s a two-way exchange that benefits all attendees, reflecting the global nature of our association.

What do you think will be the main areas of interest and new developments among regulators over the coming years?

The future will likely see regulators working more effectively together to address common challenges, such as engaging with operators and suppliers with global reach or society-driven change. 

We’ll also be helping each other navigate emerging tech implications, like AI and data-driven compliance, and appreciating what works in different contexts.

You are also the Director Of Research And Statistics at the Gambling Commission in Great Britain. In which ways regulators can learn from each other and even collaborate in the area of research and statistics?

This is one of the great opportunities of our time as our capacity to acquire, link and share significant data sets increases – international gambling regulation is no different and it certainly is an area we should all be considering deeply to make the most of in the years ahead.

In Great Britain, we’ve set out our Evidence gaps and priorities for 2023 to 2026 and if anyone reading this has ideas or can contribute to helping fill them I’d love to talk to them

We all have different parts of the puzzle, and the key is figuring out how to put them together. This collaborative approach is a key focus for IAGR and will be explored further at the conference.

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