Insight: International cooperation can improve global gambling regulation

Insight: International cooperation can improve global gambling regulation

Monday, January 11, 2016 Totally Gaming
President Joerg Hofmann wants to see greater dialogue among regulators from around the world

Just a few months ago, the likes of Clayton Kershaw, LeBron James and Ben Roethlisberger were the biggest stars of daily fantasy sports (DFS) as the sector continued its soaring trajectory over the outfield fence and across the US.

Now it’s a different ball game. Indeed, since New York issued a cease and desist order to DraftKings and FanDuel in November, the likes of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Judge Manuel Mendez and DraftKings counsel David Boies seem to have been vying for the most valuable player award, as the action has switched from the end zone to the court room.

While the DFS operators might retain their ‘game of skill’ defence, their regular battles in front of the bench mean that they certainly now know how it feels to be in the gambling sector.

The legal arguments over DFS will not be ending any time soon, and the implications of the various developments in New York, Illinois, Nevada and elsewhere will be among the major talking points at the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL) Masterclass event at ICE TotallyGaming in February.

Joerg Hofmann, the departing IMGL president whose two-year term concluded in December, has been closely following the DFS saga and told TotallyGaming.com that he is also keen to discuss legislation relating to e-sports.

“Looking at the US, the developments in relation to fantasy sports betting and e-sports are very interesting,” he said. “I think that it is likely that fantasy sports will become a big issue in 2016 – one more reason to include this topic in our IMGL conferences and panels.

“I am especially looking forward to the e-sports and fantasy sports panel as I expect e-sports to be one of the hot topics of 2016 and, of course, to the panel I will be speaking on, which will be on supplier licensing and liability.”

The IMGL is the pre-eminent global gambling law networking and educational organisation shaping the future of gaming law. It consists of more than 350 highly qualified members from 43 different countries and 33 different states and territories in the US.

The free-to-attend IMGL Masterclass, which takes place on Wednesday, February 3, is a conference format in which IMGL members and other experts of the gaming industry engage in discussions. 

“We pride ourselves on the expertise of our members and our knowledge of the industry and aim to share our know-how and industry-insight," said Hofmann, who was replaced at the end of his term as IMGL president by Mike Zatezalo. “The Masterclass is not exclusively addressed to a legal audience, but rather aims at bringing together experts of the legal community, representatives of the industry and regulators in our global network.

"As well as fantasy sports and e-sports, the IMGL Masterclass will also look at other hot topics such as point of consumption tax issues and supplier licensing and liability.”

Hofmann also wants to assess the impact that the M&A trend will have upon regulators, and added that it is important for interested parties to use the international flavour of ICE as a positive in influencing gambling laws around the world.  

“One thing that has become increasingly clear over the past year is that mergers are becoming more important when talking about influential changes to the gaming industry and in gaming law,” he said. “It is likely that mergers will have a considerable impact on regulation. Same applies for technological innovations and I also expect the industry to grow in terms of its international reach.

“The changes that can be expected will also drive the need for an increased international dialogue among regulators, which, in my opinion, is crucial for a positive development of the industry and a sensible regulation of gaming on an international scale.”

* IMGL Masterclass takes place on Wednesday, February 3 from 10am-6pm and is free to attend for all ICE Totally Gaming visitors. Please contact faye.west@clarionevents.com if you wish to attend.

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