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Takeaways from NCLGS – A Sea Change in the Gaming Industry

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Interview: At the summer meeting of National Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) in Chicago, the shift to digital gaming was on everybody’s mind. Everything from fraud detection technology to digital wallets was covered. Here’s what GeoComply’s Chad Kornett, VP, Global Government Relations – Gaming had to report.

Q: What were your biggest takeaways from the conference?

A: There were a few. When you start talking about the industry, I think the most common term I heard was, “sea change.” Like the ocean. Three years ago, none of this existed. The gaming industry was mostly terrestrial, land-based. Only a few markets had sports betting. People have recognized there is a significant change in the industry, it’s starting to get woven into the culture and the fabric of the United States. You hear sport leagues, ESPN and the news talking about it.

We’re almost at a tipping point where – is it a sea change for the industry, or is it just more of the same? That was the question that everyone was contemplating, is our industry fundamentally changing?

Q: Was there a consensus or were people taking different sides?

A: I would say, there was a 70/30 split. The 70 percent said this is new, this is different. And the other 30 percent is like, we’ve always had gambling, this is just a new delivery channel. There are two different kinds of thinkers. I tend to be more of the 70 percent that feels gaming is becoming more innovative. We just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen down the road in four to five years. We do know that it’s not just going to be more of the same, it’s going to be fundamentally changed.

For example, a couple of years ago, we were more of a geolocation company. Now, the most important conversation I’ve had with everyone is that we’re still geolocation but we’re now also a key layer of the regulators, the law enforcement and the operator’s risk teams in decreasing the amount of fraud that’s occurring. What else can we do with this really robust technology? How else can we use it? And, it turns out everyone’s really interested.

I’ll tell you a little story. I walked into a cocktail party with about 300 regulators. And I saw the pin drop map from across the room, it was on somebody’s PC. Turns out, it was the Colorado regulator with four or five regulators behind him. And he was showing them our famous, real-time pin drop map of the state. It’s like they’re telling our story and it’s interesting the regulators are really starting to get it and they realize how essential it really is.

Q: What was your final takeaway?

A: Fraud is a serious thing, if you’re in this industry. I think people are starting to realize that as well. The way people are interacting with their devices is also different than it was. This ties into sea change, which ties into responsible gaming. The reality is that more and more people are connected to gambling throughout the day, and they are starting to ask questions about how to control it.

Q: Which was your favourite session that you attended?

A: This gets to the last point, which factors into sea change as well. Digital payments such as cashless are absolutely here. There were two sessions that addressed that, which I really tuned into because it’s a significant change for the casinos. You’ve always walked into a casino jammed in cash. In five or six years, or even sooner, we’re not going to see that anymore. It’s all going to be on the phone and tied into the casino’s resort wallet.

Please note – Chad will be one of the experts presenting on “Know Your Customers/Rules in the Remote Betting World” at the Racing & Gaming Conference at Saratoga on August 17, 2021.