World Gaming Executive Summit 2013 & Global Lotteries Executive Summit

World Gaming Executive Summit 2013 & Global Lotteries Executive Summit

Described by one speaker as “Davos with swimsuits,” this year’s World Gaming Executive Summit relocated from the centre of Spain’s capital, Madrid, to the Mediterranean and Barcelona’s impressive new W Hotel.

Whereas in previous years the debate has largely centred on the convergence between land-based and online/mobile gaming, this year the prospect of new competition or collaboration with social gaming proved a key talking point. It seems few within gambling can say for certain whether social gaming is a new opportunity, a threat or something best left to someone else.

Elsewhere, the question of whether legislation could be applied across Europe and how online gaming law will be implemented in the US remained an important discussion. After all the talk of how online gaming may damage the land-based gaming market, it now seems that, in the US at least, the bricks and mortar brands are well positioned to leverage their land-based strengths in the online environment, whatever it might be.

European fragmentation… or unity?

July’s summit began with a rather sobering assessment of the global economic situation from Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank. A culture of compound deficits that began in the second half of the 20th century has placed the world in a precarious position, he said. Today’s politicians, it seems, are attempting to find a solution for a problem 60 years in the making. Reid suggested that the concerted effort to tackle these deficits represents a move into new territory. However, aggressive austerity measures are likely to hinder growth in the years ahead, placing additional stress on already fragile political unions. The result, he warned, could be political fragmentation and a new generation of “maverick” lawmakers. How should the gaming industry interpret this? Well, instability is problematic for a business that is often an easy target but new ideas may create new opportunities. After all, politicians frequently turn to gaming as a source of new tax revenues.

Europe, said MEP Jürgen Creutzmann, is a leader in i-gaming, an industry that is among the strongest ecommerce markets in the region. However, despite being at the forefront of i-gaming, little has been done to create legislative harmony across the continent.

“Consumers can easily play on sites that are either not regulated or are regulated in other jurisdictions,” he said, noting that as a result, member states are losing millions of euros to unregulated betting sites.