Martin Lycka: The 2022 Gambling Regulatory Olympics

Entain's SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling Martin Lycka looks at how gambling regulators globally are shaping up against each other.
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Martin Lycka – SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain – looks at how gambling regulators around the world are shaping up against each other.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2022 Gambling Regulatory Olympics. The scene is set for countries from all around the digital world to walk onto the field of regulatory glory and display their mind-boggling skills in a set of disciplines that will define the near future of our “sport”. 

The Olympic flag of five interlaced mobile screens showing the latest odds is being hoisted on the highest mast of the virtual arena;

It’s all happening live, with odds changing every few seconds, to the tune of the Gambling Olympic Anthem the melody of which emulates the creaks of an old roulette table. All the participants pledge to honor the Gambling Olympics motto: “Better Odds, Quicker Spins, Slicker Adverts”; and we’re off to the regulatory races.  

First up, a traditional discipline that has featured in every single Gambling Olympics in history, namely Tax Hiking. Team Switzerland holds the unbeatable all-time record in this sport, with a routine that results in 100 per cent of sports betting revenue being channeled to charitable causes via state-owned lotteries. Although it is nigh impossible, and frankly fool hardy, to aspire to beat this mark, this year’s field of contenders is rather strong in their own right. 

Step up New York (qualification mark of 51 per cent), Arkansas (sitting at the same score as New York), and Hawaii (notionally at 55 per cent while still awaiting certification by its national Olympic Committee). According to pundits, everybody else who has engaged in this discipline lately, lags far behind; actually, so far behind that, it brings back memories of the Eastern Bloc countries dominating track and field disciplines in the real life Olympics back in the day. We shall hope that, for their own sake, the contenders can keep it going sustainably in the long run, not just throughout this short Olympic cycle. 

Next in the starting blocks, Advertising Steeplechase. For those of you who are not so familiar with this sport, it is an obstacle race that features a number of speed bumps designed to control the content and frequency of gambling-related advertising. Taking another look at recent history, past champions hail from among the European countries, such as Italy or Spain. 

This year we are expecting a particularly strong display from Team Germany – it is rumored that several of its coaches have designed plays revolving around restricting promotions only to the team’s website. Team Ontario is amongst the entrants as well; its routine is however less rigid than the one Germany is coming up. It cannot be ruled out either that Spain will once again seek to stamp its mark on this competition. The big unknown at this stage is Team GB, in whose case experts are not yet certain whether they will have submitted their advertising routine in a good time ahead of the Olympic tournament. 

The final discipline to turn your attention to this year is Liquidity Fencing. For the best part of the last decade France and other Mediterranean countries, inspired by their maitres d’escrime, have held the Olympic title. 

Owing to the lack of regulation, as well as having been Wire-Acted, US teams have largely ignored the sport but some actually allowed their fellow states to jump over the liquidity fence, with more expected to come in the future. The new kid on the block is thus shaping up to be yet again Team Ontario, which envisages going down the ring-fencing route once it has opened for business. Just like the US teams, the Ontarians may however choose to change their training programs ahead of the next Olympics and steer away from Liquidity Fencing. In any case, we will be watching this thrilling contest with anticipation as well. 

All in all, dear Olympic sports fans, a lot is coming your way to embellish the highlight reels; so, without further gilding the lily, I declare the 2022 Gambling Regulatory Olympics open.

Martin Lycka is the SVP for American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling at Entain. The statements made in relation to this article, do not necessarily reflect the opinions held by Entain Plc. Subscribe to Martin Lycka’s Safe Bet Show on all leading podcast providers. Click here for more information.