Entering new markets inevitably provides compliance challenges, as AML and safer gambling strategies grow in importance. 

Speaking at the SBC Summit Barcelona, Alex Henderson, Chief Compliance Officer at Netbet, detailed how the firm navigates expansion from a compliance perspective as he emphasised the importance of engaging with the wider business from the earliest possible opportunity. 

A collaborative approach is key to a sound compliance strategy when embarking upon expansion, Henderson underlined, referencing the vital nature of bringing in the marketing, compliance and payments leader to the process. 

Mapping out the process further, Henderson stated: “When a decision is being made on entry to a new market, having a roundtable to discuss the positives and negatives of the market, what they need to focus on and developing a timeline from there.”

He then emphasised that the obstacles in markets varied distinctly, citing Germany as one that has proved particularly challenging. At the centre of making the compliance simple is the willingness to communicate from the regulator, added Henderson. 

Roger Redfearn-Tyrzyk, Director of Global Gambling & Sales UK at IDnow, brought a different perspective to the discussion of new market entry, as he underlined that as a supplier it is essential that they work very closely to the regulator. 

‘For us, it’s really important that we get the input of the regulator, in order for us to know how to deliver a solution that helps these guys’, added Redfearn-Tyrzk, as he very much echoed the sentiment of Henderson on the vital role of the regulator when it comes to new market growth. 

He continued by stating that their foremost priority is making life for the operators as smooth as possible – enabling them to automate the process wherever possible. 

Mirroring Henderson’s criticism of the German process, he described the process in the region as being ‘shameful’, a statement that panel moderator Ilya Machavariani, CEO & Senior Partner at 4H Agency, also underlined his backing for. 

Thees Buschmann, Head of Compliance at Red Rhino, also emphasised the importance of a realistic and measured approach to new market entry, as he cited bringing the whole team together to assess what is possible as being crucial. 

‘As the operator, we have to sing the regulator’s song’, Buschmann detailed as he sought to map out just how challenging the process can be when it comes to compliance in new markets. 

He concluded: “When you are at the stage of the process where you find you are doing something you are not used to, or have not done before, you simply have to take a step back and get all the people to the table to see that you have all the expertise together – proper supplier management can also help a lot.” 

Henderson then followed this up by lauding the process in Ontario, specifically the weekly or fortnightly touchpoint process meetings that operators are afforded, which help provide clarity to a challenging process. 

Furthermore, this is something he detailed also benefits regulators and is something he is optimistic other bodies learn from.