Bookmaking is one of the most developed sectors in the gambling industry. Considering the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing trend for digitalization, the betting market also doesn’t stay still and is constantly evolving. Even more so if we talk about the wagering industry in the United States.
Seth Panalsky, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Communications at Conscious Gaming, has spoken on the pressing issues, much discussed in the latest bookmaking news.
Seth, what are the biggest changes the sports betting industry is facing in 2021?
The U.S. market opening and going from a completely unregulated market (outside Nevada) to one in which nearly half the states have now legalized remains the focus of most of the industry. Obviously, the U.S. is very well-versed in regulating land-based casinos but adapting rules for online gambling is where a lot of the focus on 2021 continues to be, as regulations are formed and new markets come aboard and stakeholders jockey and form partnerships to enter the space.
Experts state that the illegal betting market has grown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. What actions can be taken to attract players to the regulated operators instead of the unlicensed bookies?
First, licensing and regulating is the way to go. You cannot curb the illegal market if you do not offer a viable alternative. From there, it takes a collective effort. Australia is a country others can look to for what a smart model looks like. The Australian Media and Gaming Authority (ACMA) is in charge and they do a combination of consumer education, plus they have a law allowing them to ask internet service providers to block gambling websites.
Conscious Gaming recently did a survey in the U.S. focused on two full iGaming states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. What we found is that there is a lot of confusion amongst consumers. That is why we created the Bettor Safe Consumer Awareness campaign, where we are trying to educate consumers. It is important to point out the risks and downsides of playing on illegal sites and make sure the regulated markets continue to highlight the consumer protections in place. Moreover, there needs to be more collaboration so, for example, the illegal sites cannot get their apps inside the Google Play or Apple App Store. Working with the tech companies, the internet service providers, local and federal law enforcement, regulators, etc.
How can a bookmaking operator ensure effective customer protection? What kind of technology could benefit the process?