Industry figures discuss i-gaming's future

By David Cook
A panel gathered to discuss the key i-gaming issues at a seminar titled “The future of online gambling” at Portcullis House in Westminster, London, hosted by the All Party Betting & Gaming Group (APBGG).

Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming, Anthony Werkman, marketing and operations director for Betway, and Clive Hawkswood, CEO of the Remote Gambling Association, gave speeches on the online industry before addressing a number of topics in a Q & A session, hosted by Philip Davies, chairman of the APBGG.

One of the more challenging areas to address was regulation with regards to maximum stakes online and whether calls could be made to reduce maximum stakes on certain games, as has been the case with fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the land-based sector.

Flint believes not enough evidence supports the anti-FOBT argument, but also warned the industry.

He said: “It is a risk [heavier regulation], but policy making should be data-driven. The data to restrict FOBTs in the way it’s being talked about doesn’t seem to be there. But it is a risk, because in the industry, we’re not necessarily doing a great job of presenting a positive case and presenting facts.”

M & A was also spoken of, and Werkman believes that while we may see a slowdown of activity in this area, the M & A that has occurred could be bad news for smaller operators.

“There’s definitely some M & A still to come,” he said. “It’s especially going to be tough for the smaller companies. I think it will also keep people out of the industry, which may be a good thing, in terms of keeping it responsible.”

Hawkswood defended the industry in light of the UK Gambling Commission ruling that Paddy Power had failed to keep crime out of gambling and protect vulnerable people, by saying: “Things go wrong sometimes. If you look at those cases, individual errors were made. They held their hands up. You’ve got say: ‘Yeah, that is how we control you, and move on.’”

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