Day one of the SBC Digital Summit North America saw stakeholders come together to delve into the latest state to legalize both casino and mobile sports betting, in an attempt to discover what exactly Colorado got right. 

‘Tackling Colorado – Best Practices to Licensing’ brought together Rhea Loney, Director of Compliance at Penn Interactive, Dan Hartman, Director, Division of Gaming at the Colorado Department of Revenue and Charles LeBoy, VP of Compliance at Roar Digital, with Joe Bertolone, Executive Director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ International Centre for Regulation, gaining moderating duties.

“We knew from the go that this would be a fabulous market for us” asserted LeBoy, following an expression of relief from Hartman that the unexpected launch in the middle of global pandemic was done with both retail and online.

But what exactly did the Centennial State get so right that has had both US and European incumbents rushing to claim a piece of the action alongside one of 33 casinos situated across three mountain towns?

“I think the biggest best practice that I would throw in is, as a regulator, we need to listen,” Hartman assured. “We need to listen to all the stakeholders and that doesn’t just include operators, it includes the wagering public, it includes everybody that is part of the process. 

I think that if you’re going to have stakeholder meetings, you’re going to bring people in and you’re going to have them invest their time in what you are doing, listening to them and making decisions based on the feedback you get, and not just having stakeholder meetings to have stakeholder meetings.The other thing is being open to change and to new things.” 

Loney, however, trod a different path, and praised an approach which brought stakeholders into the regulatory conversation very early on through a series of workshops and roundtable discussions.

Undertaking meetings with operators as early as September 2019, which subsequently stepped up later in the year, the open discussions eventually welcomed 70 individuals from 50 different organisations and are praised as leading the state forward with its set of permanent rules.

“I think I’ll put reasonable tax fees and licensing fees as one, I think that’s the first step to a competitive market,” Loney suggested. 

“And the second thing is that I think the working groups got us there, which is a set of regulations that protect the public, that are fair to operators and that operators understand what the expectations are out of those regulations and they’re clear and a process that we can follow.”

Concluding, LeBoy lauded a transparent process from start to finish as a crucial component to developing a key partnership that ensured regulatory success: “I think having a process and timelines that are well communicated to people, that if there are particular deadlines that that be made clear in advance, and to the extent possible having a go live date is very helpful to an operator when they are trying align multiple processes to a particular date.

“And two, just the collaborative nature of working with the regulator and operator whether it’s just providing feedback on the initial set of rules to the whole journey from someone looking to submit to actually getting live.

“I see that as a partnership between both the operator and the regulator, and the better that that partnership works the more successful an industry you’ll have in the end.” 

SBC Digital Summit North America is running this week July 14-16. To register or obtain more information visit the event’s official website.