Entain’s SVP of American Regulatory Affairs and Responsible Gambling Martin Lycka is always willing to express his opinions, so SBC’s Mollie Chapman was eager to speak with him at last month’s SBC Summit North America event about the current state of affairs in North America, particularly the launch of regulated online gambling in Canada.
Lycka has spoken and written at length about regulatory affairs across the Americas and experience in Europe as well. Reflecting back on how regulation has changed over the years, he applauded the shift from the “us vs. them” to an open-door policy where operators come to regulators with questions as opposed to getting their hands slapped after the fact if they make mistakes or misinterpret policy. This open approach to communication was part of what made the licensing process in Canada run so smoothly.
“Ontario’s a Canadian province that’s led the charge on online gambling. It’s a province of 15 million people with some of the greatest Canadian sports franchises such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s why it was so important for Ontario but also the industry to open the market,” Lycka stated. “Similar to the US and other global regulators the AGCO and iGO, the Ontario regulator buddies, do have an open-door policy so we can always go and have a conversation with them both in the run-up to the market launch in April earlier this year and ever since.”
Lycka also spoke about responsible gambling and framing not as a burden but as something that is both the right thing to do and something that also adds to the bottom line.
“It’s not only about doing the right thing it’s also a smart business decision because, believe you me, as an industry, we want happy, so, by implication, healthy customers to cater to and, in my view, strong view, happy and healthy customers are those who know how to gamble within reason. We don’t want to be servicing customers that are prone to burning out.”
Lycka discussed how to address problem gambling both through prevention and offering support when a problem exists. Check out the entire interview to hear how the industry and Entain, in particular, are doing to effect changes on that front.