Becky Liggero

CoinGeek Zurich ‘Hashing it Out’ Special: Responsible gambling, compliance & BSV blockchain

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Responsible gambling and compliance are huge topics within the iGaming space today and for a good reason. Entertaining our players in the safest environment possible is our duty as operators, regulators and even affiliates in some cases.

Throughout the history of the iGaming industry there have always been disputes between operators and regulators, some simply due to bad actors and others due to lack of proof that operators in fact abided by the regulators’ rules in good faith. 

Now that the iGaming industry has matured and regulations are tighter, operators must spend a lot of time keeping track of data to be sure they are on top of problem gambling behavior and prove to regulators they are doing everything possible to keep players safe.

With the emergence of blockchain as the latest technology for data storage and data management, operators are beginning to understand that their jobs would be easier and relationships with regulators would be stronger if they adopt blockchain-based solutions.

The use of the blockchain to help iGaming operators remain compliant was one of the many topics of discussion at CoinGeek Zurich in June. Filmed during the conference, the 8th episode of “Hashing it Out” includes three guests from iGaming, an operator, a consultant and a supplier, all sharing their perspectives on how blockchain can benefit the iGaming industry today.

CoinGeek Zurich speaker John Brackens is the CTO of Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) ) (NASDAQ: GMBL), a company that provides betting solutions and tournament platforms for esports. As a long-time gambling industry professional, Brackens is keenly aware of the complexities in remaining compliant and recognizes the unique abilities of blockchain to assist in this journey.

“We’ve been looking at blockchain for quite a number of months now and we definitely recognize the inherent benefits of what blockchain has to offer in our industry as well, because our industry in online gaming occasionally has a stigma of not having the best reputation,” Brackens explained.

“So being able to use a system, apply those intrinsic benefits from that system to what we’re doing and elevating the trust level with our community and our customers and the regulators that we deal with and just in general, for us, that’s a win-win situation. That’s the point where we want to get to,” he said.

Brackens added that iGaming is a very heavily regulated industry these days and the regulators must be certain there isn’t any fraud or collusion going on and that players are not being taken advantage of in any way.

“There’s a mountain of processes and reports and just statistics that you always have to provide to regulatory bodies like the MGA, the UKGC, Isle of Man, whoever. They all want that information, because at the end of the day, the regulator’s job is to make sure that you are in an adherence with their rules and they’re protecting the community at large that they’re responsible for,” Brackens confirmed.

“Having a transparent way to be able to hand that information over to them in a frictionless way that minimizes the actual work we have to do and reduces our costs and operational overhead, but still meet all their clear requirements and it’s transparent and its seamless. That’s kind of like the panacea where we want to get to,” he added.

By storing game play data and player communications on the blockchain’s immutable ledger, permission can be given to regulators for accessing the information they need to review, whenever they like. Regulators can view the information with the confidence that none of it has been altered or amended in any way because it’s on the blockchain.

“If something were to go wrong, you see some type of discrepancy, at least it’s there so we can have a conversation about it. It elevates that trust level so now when we do have to have conversations, we can have the proper conversations we need to have based off of reality and facts, not based off of innuendo or just curiosity,” Brackens pointed out.

How blockchain can assist in responsible gambling efforts is a huge focus of Nick Hill’s, CoinGeek author and BSV blockchain consultant to the gambling industry. At CoinGeek Zurich, Hill hosted a panel specifically for the gambling industry and uncovered the need for a “universal source of truth” from all of his panelists.

“The biggest takeaways were responsible gambling and how to use blockchain for data storage and storing the data in a much more chronological, accessible way. Also touching on the way that we can use the blockchain for AML and KYC,” Hill shared.

“We need to use the technology in a unified way, not individually, not in our own silos,” Hill added.

Similar to Brackens, Hill pointed out the benefits of using blockchain from the responsible gambling point of view. Hill explained that when an operator detects unhealthy player behavior, they can embed markers of harm in this player’s journey using the blockchain. If that player then decides to file a complaint to the regulator, the operator will be protected because the player’s records have been stored on an immutable ledger and the regulator can access that data with a private key.

“You’re not then looking for, ‘Who spoke to this guy’? ‘When did they speak to this guy’? ‘What information was sent to him’? ‘How were we bonusing them?’,” Hill explained.

“For the regulators point of view, everything is in one place. Very accessible and easy to retrieve,” he added.

It’s clear there is a gap in the marketplace for a solution that simplifies the regulatory requirements for iGaming operators, especially when it comes to responsible gambling and KYC. nChain’s Director of Business Services, Simit Naik, revealed nChain’s plans for delivering an iGaming solution that operators can plug into and alleviate pain points.

“In gaming we see the value of being able to use data to address some of the biggest challenges. We talked a lot about responsible gaming and ensuring that we can track data in order for us to be able to prevent problem gaming. And I think that’s a phenomenal use case for blockchain,” Naik confirmed.

“There’s so many benefits you get from having a payment system built on Bitcoin. Now you can start doing micro and nano payments. You can start building different types of games. But with the data side and with this embedded digital cash side, you can now start monetizing the data and so there’s different ways that we can deliver value to iGaming,” he added.

Just last week, nChain launched the initial phase of their enterprise platform “Kensei” enabling enhanced data integrity, including tamper-proof documents and auditable logs. Kensei can be seamlessly integrated into an existing business and data management process—including iGaming operations—a huge step forward to utilizing blockchain to its fullest potential within the iGaming space.

The launch of Kensei is a signal of what’s yet to come and CoinGeek Zurich only scratched the surface on how the BSV blockchain is poised to disrupt the iGaming space. CoinGeek’s next conference takes place in New York City the first week in October and promises to uncover even more innovation in blockchain and gaming, an area that is set to explode over the coming months.

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.