The day after the 2019 Gaming eSummit, organized by Kpmg and staged in Malta, we analyze the changes affecting the international gaming industry with Russell Mifsud, Director Gaming Lead of the consulting company.
With a look on Italy too.
Compliance is the main challenge that gaming industry is facing at a global level. But this game is played on several fronts: between regulators, businesses and governments, with the latter dictating the general line that others must necessarily follow. And, often, that’s where problems arise. It is clear in Italy, but similar situations also occur in other markets considered “mature”. While the emerging ones are trying to take only the good that has been done in other realities, faced with the need to bring out an underground offer now widespread everywhere. A series of aspects addressed in detail in the eSummit on gaming organized by the international consultancy company Kpmg, in Malta, on the sidelines of the Sigma fair. An annual meeting that brings together a series of experts to discuss the latest trends and update on news concerning the sector. Providing useful indications on the state of health of the industry and future prospects, which we analyze with the promoter of the event, Russell Mifsud, Kpmg’s Director Gaming Lead.
Having reached the end of the year, what is your analysis of this 2019 for the gaming industry? In your opinion, it was a positive year globally and what was it mostly characterized by?
“2019 has certainly been another busy year for the remote gaming sector and I do not expect it to slow down in 2020. As the industry continues to mature and become ever more sophisticated, it comes with challenges and learning curves for all stakeholders.
New legislation and regulation continue to steer the sector on a global scale and as the remote gaming sphere continues to become increasingly more complex, then the need to anticipate the emerging trends and obligations of the industry continue to grow tremendously – it keeps us all on our toes as one’s brand and reputation is often what determines the winners from the losers”.
What are the main challenges that the sector is facing in the next few months at the regulatory level?
“Compliance, with all of its complexities have continued to drive consolidation into play as a result of margins being squeezed and an ever growing need for strategic growth. Responsible gambling, evolving directives, advertising restrictions, taxes and AML have continued to play a dominating role in this ever maturing industry”.
The subject of gaming advertising has become central in many European countries and beyond. Italy, as is known, has introduced a total ban that threatens to influence other legislators. What do you think about it?
“This is a challenge, which brings about uncertainty and will impact the industry and beyond from a 360 degree standpoint. I believe this wave of advertising restrictions are a result of having had a lack of self-regulation within the gambling sphere for so many years, whereby many operators ‘were making hay whilst the sun was shining’. This inevitably contributed to the overall public perception of gambling and from a political standpoint, will often be an obvious agenda point to deter”.
In its latest event in Malta, KPMG has addressed many of these issues, exploring various aspects. In your opinion, what are the real priorities of the industry at European level?
“Growth, Increasing compliance, Public mood about gambling, Unregulated markets, Emerging markets, Brand reputation”
Continuing on Malta: the island has been turned upside down in recent weeks by the capture of Fenech and the pressure received from the premier by the citizens. Do you believe that these movements can compromise the future of the island and its centrality in the world of European gaming?
“Each and every country has its challenges. It is imperative that we address any shortcomings in a streamlined manner and strive to come out of this stronger than we ever have been. This will take dedication, a long term vision and best-in-class mechanisms across the board, for the benefit of managing Malta’s reputation on the world stage as the iGaming Capital”.
What impact could the Brexit phenomenon have on the gaming sector?
“The UK’s decision to leave the EU has translated into uncertainty and speculation. Amidst this uncertainty, Malta’s position within Europe has played a role as a viable contingency plan for several prominent UK based (and faced) organisations. We have, as one example, seen the impact of this uncertainty come into play from several Gib based remote gaming operators, who are building up their substance within Malta for the purpose of establishing a presence on the island and safeguarding itself from any potential operational ambiguity”.