Peter Ekmark: Eight top tips to consider before entering the US

Peter Ekmark: Eight top tips to consider before entering the US
Image source: Internet Vikings

Partnering with a European hosting provider can help soothe data protection pain points for companies eyeing the US, said Peter Ekmark – CEO of Internet Vikings – as he outlined his eight top tips for iGaming operators looking to enter the post-PASPA market.

The US iGaming space is currently at the forefront of everyone’s mind. With eight more states expected to open up in the near future, the market’s popularity is showing no signs of dwindling.

As part of Ekmark’s advice, he urged operators to outsource cloud hosting to the experts, but more specifically to a non-US hosting provider – as it will ‘save you a lot of time’.

He began: “The US iGaming market seems to be at the center of everyone’s attention at the moment; the opportunities are monumental, but so are the challenges. This is where technology truly becomes fascinating and well worth strategizing.”

Currently, iGaming is offered on a ‘geofenced’ basis in the US, with each state legislature deciding the regulations. What this means for iGaming companies is that each state needs to be regarded as though it was an individual country where you need to set up technology locally. 

Speaking as part of a presentation for iGaming NEXT, Ekmark explained that the market operates in this way for three reasons: the Wire Act, local tax rules and legacy technology specific to each state. 

So what should iGaming companies consider when trying to navigate these intricate regulations? Ekmark’s first tip was to outsource your cloud hosting services where possible. 

He said: “So what’s the solution? How can we use technology to gain a competitive edge in the US market? You should consider the following as a baseline. 

“Outsource your cloud hosting services where available, and try to reduce the number of providers to an absolute minimum. This will be so important once you are scaling up in the US in order to reduce the complexity and overheads.”

Outlining his next three key considerations, Ekmark implored iGaming companies to carry out due diligence on their selected provider, highlighting that a strong knowledge of the iGaming industry, the presence of local licenses and an understanding of compliance requirements are fundamental to success.

“You should also make sure that the provider you choose has a local license, particularly one that enables them to offer cloud services in every state where applicable.

“Something which is also very important is to also make sure that your provider understands the iGaming market and the implications of compliance requirements.”

Drawing attention to the Schrems II ruling made by the European Union’s Court of Justice, the Internet Vikings CEO’s next recommendation was to choose a European or non-US provider.

On 16 July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union – in a ruling which was later named Schrems II – found that Privacy Shield was not fit for the purpose, nor was it lawful. 

This now means that the Cloud Act in the US is incompatible with the EU’s GDPR regulations, something which Ekmark noted “is not likely to change any time soon”.

He continued: “Please consider a non-US hosting provider, simply because of the Privacy Shield invalidation. You will save a lot of time. On that subject, you should automate as much of your infrastructure setup as possible as you will be repeating it for each state that you enter.”

Outlining his final three key considerations, Ekmark said: “You must also ensure that your provider gives you full access to the infrastructure APIs to support your automation efforts, and also make sure that you get the flexibility you need to scale your environment. 

“And last, but certainly not least, use a supplier that you can have an established relationship with. This is so important.”

Rounding off his presentation, Ekmark drew attention to Internet Viking’s iGaming-tailored services which are currently active across both Michigan and West Virginia. 

He explained that with an ISO 27001 certification already under its belt, the Stockholm-based hosting provider will soon offer its full suite of services across all regulated states in the US. 

Ekmark concluded: “We are a European-based supplier of hosting domain names and online brand protection. We are also ISO 27001 certified. We specialize in iGaming-tailored cloud hosting services with hubs ashore and in regulated jurisdictions across the globe.” 

Internet Vikings will be offering its full suite of services in all regulated states across the US in the very near future. Currently, the company is active with licensed hosting for igaming in the U.S. – both Michigan and West Virginia.