The gambling industry has and continues to evolve rapidly; especially with regard to the role of payment services within the industry.
The National Council on Problem Gambling’s recently released Guidelines for Payment Processing provides one view of the payment services models and is a great resource for understanding the evolution of payment services.
Another useful resource is the chapter A Global Overview on the Evolution of Payment Services: Gambling 2020 provided by the Gaming Legal Group for the International Comparative Legal Guide (ICGL).
This chapter on the ICLG.com website provides a global overview on the evolution of payment services through time, touching on:
The author’s note that as regulators worldwide focus ever more closely on this aspect of the gaming industry, and ask payment service providers to increase their legal responsibility and liability, concurrently a range of risk, legal and operational issues arise.
Chief among these issues for all parties is laundering of money. This is a particular challenge for the gambling industry, with the author’s indicating ‘laundering efforts may be almost impossible to trace’. Additionally, the introduction of cryptocurrencies have the potential to increase the risks for an already vulnerable industry in this area.
An ongoing concern is the legal framework that sits around the gambling industry, payment providers and the liabilities this creates. It is noted at this time there is little likelihood of payment providers being indicted as co-conspirators in money laundering prosecutions. This could, however, change at any time based on legal precedent. Given the necessity of payment solutions to gaming, this a key concern for the industry.
According to the authors Governments, at a macro level, favour an international approach to payment services with the G20 requesting the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development produce standards for use internationally to improve accountability. Action at a micro level, however, remains low with the uptake of the standards being slow.
The authors conclude that as technology develops and is refined the payment services industry will similarly increase its sophistication and automation. This will reduce costs but should have the upside of increasing the ability to monitor what activity occurs on any given platform.
It is anticipated, however, legal and legislative frameworks to ensure probity within this industry will remain challenged due to the speed of technology and thus industry evolution.
Bas Jongmans and Xavier Rico
Gaming Legal Group for the International Comparative Legal Guides