“Everybody has an opportunity to contribute to a public policy discussion”

Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.
Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.

Exclusive interview.- Focus Gaming News speaks to Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.

From informal beginnings way back in 1980, the IAGR has now stood for a decade as an independent organisation bringing together representatives from gaming regulatory bodies around the world.

Focus Gaming News spoke with its president Paul Newson as international gambling regulation finds itself at a crucial crossroads between increased regulation but also increasingly disperse requirements for operators.

Looking at the current panorama of vastly varied regulatory frameworks, Newson told Focus that he saw “ample room” for regulators to make more headway on convergence and the sharing of best practice. 

“We would be much better positioned to be able to have a common standard and a common conversation.”

Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.

He said: “I have a lot of sympathy for operators that have national as well as global footprints and have to navigate this complex and often inconsistent web of requirements and obligations.

“We would be much better positioned to be able to have a common standard and a common conversation . . . then leverage those efficiencies to advance more effective regulation.

“I think this should get more attention and I think it’s something the International Association of Gaming Regulators can really drive.”

He said moving in this direction would “get rid of burdensome red type” for operators, but also improve regulatory efficiency to save wastage and allow resources to be applied to the most important areas.

“Everybody should have a voice and a contribution to that conversation.”

Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.

Newson condemned the “increasingly activist voice” in some jurisdictions and stressed that operators needed to be involved in regulatory conversations.

He recommended operators not to resign from the conversation but to contribute in a measured way.

“How can you possibly make good public policy if you’re not listening to industry stakeholders,” Newson asks.

He notes that most operators acknowledged mistakes had been made in the past and were in favour of improving to create a “sustainable, vibrant industry” with “safer outcomes for players”.

Newson believes there is more work to be done there, and that big data offers a rich opportunity to drive safer gambling outcomes.

“I think we can take a few pages out of the fintech book.”

Paul Newson, president of the International Association of Gaming Regulators.

He also urges regulators to contribute to ensure regulation fits the current times.

“There are enormous lessons we can pull in from financial services,” he says, noting that fintech has little tolerance for cumbersome legislation.

He recommends the use of regulatory sandboxes to innovate and try out new ideas in a safe way.

“Often gambling regulation is allowed to become obsolescent or even obsolete.

“You end up having these cumbersome obligations, cumbersome law, that isn’t nimble enough to accommodate new business models,” he says.

On VIP schemes, a hot issue in various jurisdictions such as the UK, Newson says he believed affordability checks were necessary, but that “like every other industry, gambling operators should be able to provide that different level of service”.

“I’m hopeful there will be an industry voice and momentum,” he says.

The International Association of Gaming Regulators is partnering with the International Center for Gambling Regulation at the University of Nevada Las Vegas to run the Regulating the Game regulation education programme for both regulators and industry representatives in Sydney next year. 

Check out the full interview with Paul Newson on the Focus Gaming News YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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