David Mann: The unintended consequences of over-regulation

As political authorities across the world continue to review gambling legislation – with nations such as the UK tighten restrictions, whilst others such as the US liberalise – many operators are beginning to express concerns about the potential impact of over-regulation.

Speaking on a special edition of the Double Espresso Show with Rasmus Sojmark, Swintt CCO David Mann and Yggdrasil Gaming CEO Fredrick Elmqvist outlined the potential unintended consequences of regulation of slots – and gambling in general – particularly with regards to player protection.

The significance of regulatory changes was one of several issues discussed on the show, along with game mechanics and player retention among others, which will debut later today as part of the Groove Gaming and BetConstruct-sponsored CasinoBeats SlotFestival.

Regulatory changes often create major hurdles for the gambling industry, as companies are forced to adapt their operations according to varying legislative requirements across multiple jurisdictions, demonstrated recently by the passage of the Fourth Interstate Treaty on Gambling in Germany, and in the UK by the ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

David Mann, Chief Commercial Officer at Swintt, was keen to address the aforementioned regulatory changes in Germany. “On the proposed turnover tax – it is looking like the main discussions are going to have a negative impact on RTP and games, which is just going to turn players towards unregulated sites.

“It’s adding risk to the players. There’s probably always going to be a couple of brands that are more highly regarded and well considered within the more grey areas. But you want players to have trustworthy experiences, you want them to really connect with the casino.” 

Sharing Mann’s concerns with regards to the impact of regulations on RTP and player preferences was Fredrick Elmqvist, CEO of Yggdrasil Gaming, who argued that gamers will ultimately lose out the most due to diminished returns.

“We like to believe that there’s good balance in giving players a chance to win money – that’s good for the players and good for the industry,” he remarked. “I actually don’t think that the regulator should get involved in even stuff like how the design works and when you can show the coin splash and so forth. I think that it’s complete over-regulation. 

“But we haven’t seen the rest of it yet. it seems that politicians are driving this and we see that the public space is pushing for some further regulations.”

Mann also added that upcoming regulations, particularly in Germany, would have far ranging impacts on game mechanics and the player experience – which would subsequently have consequences for player safety. 

He continued: “From our side, we should always be trying to communicate more with the operators, the players and even with regulators to try and make that more safer for players.”

Elmqvist concluded by sharing his belief that regulators are uninterested in being more informed on the potential consequences of over-regulation of the slot space, or the gambling industry in general.

He remarked: “My biggest fear is that the industry will become so over-regulated that players will be willing to take those extra steps and go on a much darker path.”
To watch the premiere of the Double Espresso Show at the CasinoBeats Slots Festival, register for free now here.