The session was chaired by journalist Steve Hoare from Gambling Intelligence, who began saying that one of the clearest messages he had heard during his time at ICE was “Regulation, regulation, regulation.” An end to the “online free for all”
Isaacs responded that regulations were previously the foundation of land-based gaming businesses, dependent upon each country’s unique language and culture: “Regulation was the way you build your business up. The fundamentals of the business were built around those regulations.”
He said greater government focus on increasing tax revenues and harm reduction would mark an end to the “online free for all.” Isaacs added that it would be up to online business to accept more regulation and predicted there would be more mergers as businesses adapted.
“It’s a challenge – it’s a bit like Uber versus the taxis - but when you have to meet certain regulations, it’s a much harder ask,” said Isaacs.
Legalising sports betting in the US
The potential for creating a legalised sports betting market in the United States was another hot topic at ICE. Isaacs added that sports betting was already taking place illegally and offshore in the USA with no taxation being paid: “The message is very clear: the world wants this. America wants this.”
With more than 20 states having legislation pending for the legalisation of sports betting, he predicted regulations would differ state by state and added that operators could include state lotteries or casinos.
How to attract millennials to land-based casinos was one of the questions from the floor. Isaacs said the average age of a gambler had stayed stable at 47-years-old over the last few years, as disposable income was required to gamble responsibly.
He said gaming would have to evolve to attract younger tastes, with casino games potentially sharing the floor with newer skills-based games. But he added: “It’s important that we don’t overact. Casino is still a great environment to socially meet and play. I don’t think it’s as drastic as people are making out.”
Source: GMB / Totally Gaming