Big Data Will Reshape Our Compliance Landscape
The global gaming industry must embrace big data urgently. Compliance is the credibility cornerstone upon which our Industry thrives, and in our modern, online, mobile society, big data is the safeguard of transparency and legitimacy. In this mobile society, blockchain then becomes the technology that enables big data to be secured.
The age-old argument of data privacy and data security does not hold true anymore for offline storage and usage.
The cloud has become our floppy disk; almost everyone backs up data onto the cloud. Software and hardware such as phones, Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365, and Dropbox are all based upon cloud storage technology and are now actively used across the globe. Moreover, banks, border security, and financial and informational control have all migrated their data operations online.
Startlingly in 2020, in our industry, a criminal can still apply for a gaming license or associate themselves to a gaming establishment using just pen and paper; which brings a significant chance that inaccurate information is presented on these forms. Almost assuredly there are no checks of the multitude of data sets available once the forms are received.
Our Industry has worked hard in the offline world to create processes and procedures to safeguard and protect society from organized crime, addictive behavior, and activities such as money laundering. Those that created these compliance and licensing processes deserve all our respect and gratitude. To honor them and their work, it is time to embrace the opportunities of the online regulatory world presented by big data and blockchain technologies.
It is difficult to refute that social media has reshaped information sources, delivery, speed, and societal influence. It is equally as hard to ignore that the drive to bring everything online is well advanced.
The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has put online everything on the fast track.
Government online is a reality in many places around the world, and the digital citizen is now an emerging reality. Our connected world has offered many opportunities for a global community to emerge and for many societies to collaborate. Whether it be the amalgamated policies of the European Union or merely the ability to travel between and do commerce in specific countries with unified documentation and recognition, information sharing has become an essential staple of accelerated trade, collaboration, and evolution.
The European Union has made notable advancements in the management of information with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure policies and guidelines for the protection of personal information for its members. While this framework is quite young and needs to evolve, it is a critical first step to data, information, and citizen protection.
Crime and criminals have evolved, as well. The speed and efficiency that criminal organizations can move information, money and people around the world keep them increasingly ahead of jurisdictions that are not embracing this new era. A criminal can now be funded, managed, and operational anywhere on the planet at any time.
Even worse for our industry, a criminal can be operating in a jurisdiction that has no link to the global community. This allows them to move freely between gaming establishments and launder money, for example.
The vast majority of gambling establishments and jurisdictions are still isolated from each other from an information perspective. There is little to no visibility of who is gambling and if there are any illicit activities associated with their visit. To be a responsible industry this must change.
In today’s world, passport and mortgage applications, as well as many other information sensitive transactions, are done online. It is time for our industry to migrate compliance to an online environment.
Imagine a casino industry where a banned player notification is sent to all casinos in the jurisdiction, and even to other jurisdictions. Think of a no-fly list for addictive gambling and money laundering.
These regulatory tools that were once a dream can now be a reality. The day has come for our industry to step into its digital future.
Why is big data so important? One word: predictability. Big data offers the ability to correlate data anonymously. Correlation offers an incredibly information rich opportunity to dive deep into large amounts of data. It is possible to unleash the power of artificial intelligence within the big data world. Based on the patterns in the data it becomes possible to predict the future.
Big data should be, and can be, the new norm for modern gaming. It is not a nice to have, it is obligatory to offer an integrated product offering, a credible protection of players and citizens as well as the transparency required in the Industry we operate.
How does this benefit the gambling industry? The opportunities become endless but some that spring to mind include:
Data security is a critical aspect to consider and is often cited as the blockage to embracing big data. That argument does not hold true anymore.
Blockchain technology (not to be confused with crypto currency or distributed ledger technology) has emerged as a simple and easy way of exponentially increasing data, transaction, and storage security.
Blockchain technology has been commercialized with mainstream technology companies such as Microsoft and IBM embedding the technology in their security solutions. The move to blockchain technology has meant that the cloud has become a storage option that can be protected and is serviceable to all client groups.
Big data is the first critical step to ensuring the work of our forefathers (and mothers) in building a global gaming industry with a base of compliance and legitimacy evolves. If our Industry cannot protect its operators, its players, and its citizens from organized crime and illicit activities, legitimacy will waiver. It is time to take the fight to where the fight has evolved as an online war cannot be fought with offline tools.
Big data will protect and serve. Blockchain can offer evolved security enhancements, and artificial intelligence (AI) will ensure that the good can predict the bad as the bad is already using AI to manipulate the good. The time for big data is now.
Earle G. Hall
President and CEO