James Scicluna, Partner, WH Partners, speaks to eGaming Review North America about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for European operators in America and outlines some of the key considerations.
Nevada and New Jersey have both introduced legislation to regulate interactive gambling. Is one jurisdiction more favourable for European operators than the other?
James Scicluna (JS): Looking at things from across the Atlantic (Ocean not City), both , perhaps to a different extent, seek to give local operators a “first mover” advantage. Nevada’s regulations are open; whereas Nevada justifiably won’t allow businesses which took US customers illegally to enter the market immediately, NJ will only grant egaming licenses to land-based casinos, which I find protectionist. European operators wanting an NJ licence will have to do a deal with an NJ-licensed casino or buy one! The possibility of inter-state online poker compacts is interesting. Seeking a Nevada egaming licence would become much more appealing if Nevada had a compact with say California or Texas.
Which other states will follow in the footsteps of New Jersey or Nevada in introducing similar legislation?
JS: Malta regulated this industry a decade ago and the UK adopted legislation in 2005. Skimming through Nevada’s regulations, it seems the drafters looked at what’s going on in Europe and tried to adopt the better elements of such regulation while relying on their experience of regulating land-based gambling insofar as due diligence, reporting and responsible gambling requirements are concerned. This is an intelligent approach and other states would do well to emulate it.
You have previously said there are opportunities for partnerships to be struck between US and European gambling businesses. Can you elaborate on this?